Tag Archives: Food

Girl Scout Cookies: Millennials Won’t Bite

Innovation is a word that gets thrown around too often. Things have changed since Girl Scouts walked door to door with clipboards and pencils taking down orders that took weeks to process. Girl Scouts and troop leader with cookie sign 1960

Recognized by Fast Company as #10 of The World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies of 2015 in Not-For-Profit, the Girl Scouts of the USA are keeping up with the times pretty well. But they could do better. The ubiquitous cookies are an obvious opportunity.

Mission: Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.

Some local councils offer Digital Cookie. Ecommerce skills are important, but not innovative. The @girlscouts Twitter stream is socially conscious and feminist. That’s great too, but not innovative.

girlscouts tweet about STEM

A growing crop of consumers are empowered to vote with their dollars, seeking products backed by social, political, and environmental responsibility. Millennials, the largest living generation at ~83 million, are what Scott Hess aptly calls conscientious consumers. Their annual spending is projected to reach $3.39tn by 2018, eclipsing Boomers. Millennials value health and brand transparency. Post Gen/Gen We (born since 2000) may prove to be even more invested in globalism, wellness, and pro-social companies.

There is a missed opportunity to set a meaningful example about both women in business and simply better business – modern, pro-social, pro-human business.

1) Role models: Thousands of women have created businesses from scratch, namely bakeries that use quality ingredients. Which of these company leaders would make a better role model?:

Karen Herrera of Sugar & Flour Bakery vs. John Bryant, CEO, Kellogg
Left: Karen Herrera, Owner, Sugar & Flour Bakery. Right: John Bryant, CEO, Kellogg

2) Ingredients: The Girl Scouts website advertises: “No hydrogenated oils” (false) and is full of misleading copy about how the cookies are wholesome.

Girl Scout Cookies - no hydrogenated oil claim - Little Brownie Bakers
Little Brownie Bakers: interesting claims

Girl Scouts: Align your flagship activity with your mission to make the world a better place.

RFP the cookie business to socially responsible, natural bakeries. Why support Kellogg in stuffing us full of GMO bleached flour, addictive sugar, and cell-destroying oils? I’d rather buy a Trefoil baked by Karen Herrera’s Sugar & Flour Bakery (Etsy shop turned storefront) in Greendale, WI than worry what BHT and sodium acid pyrophosphate are doing to my body. I’d rather buy Samoas made with whole ingredients by Sara Fitzpatrick’s The Cupcake Shoppe Bakery in Raleigh, NC than a chemical cardboard biscuit shot out of a conveyor belt in the Keebler factory.

Meet consumers’ growing appetite for transparency and social good.

Now, those two small bakeries could not handle the national demand. So look at an innovative, more established company like Hampton Creek, upstart maker of foods that use plant proteins instead of eggs. CEO and social entrepreneur Josh Tetrick founded Hampton Creek because while working and teaching in Sub-Saharan Africa, he noticed serious issues with the global food system. Hampton Creek makes ready-to-bake JustCookies, which are sustainable and natural.

Hampton Creek Just Cookies graphic

Consider two points:
1) JustCookies are sold at Walmart
2) Unilever (owner of Hellman’s Mayonnaise) was threatened enough to sue little Hampton Creek over their JustMayo product

People have begun to care more about what’s in their food, where it comes from, and how it affects the planet.

Organic, natural, sustainable, locally sourced: these are not fringe values or niche buzzwords. Look at the fire drill the fast food and sparkling beverage industries have had in recent years over obesity. People are waking up.

So let’s make the world a better place.

More About Ingredients in Girl Scout Cookies

Tagalongs Nutrition Facts: Ingredients: Peanut Butter (Peanuts, dextrose, peanut oil, salt), sugar, vegetable oil (partially hydrogenated palm, palm kernel and/or cottonseed oil, soybean and palm oil...
Tagalongs contain partially hydrogenated oil

ABC Bakers and Little Brownie Bakers, the two bakeries licensed to bake Girl Scout cookies, distribute varieties that contain nefarious ingredients such as partially hydrogenated oil (both) and high fructose corn syrup (ABC). While copywriters address this with the seeming transparency du jour, the deflection is pure marketing. It’s par for the course from Kellogg, the Little Brownie Bakers parent company, known for depicting happy healthy kids on its cereal boxes of sugary junk and currently struggling with declining sales. Fueling a long FAQ page claiming that palm oil is perfectly healthy is the assumption that the original 8-ingredient natural recipe is no longer feasible. Why not?Girl Scout Cookies recipe 1922 - ingredients

Fun Facts – Girl Scouts

  • Founder Juliette Gordon Low organized the first Girl Scout Troop on March 12, 1912, in Savannah, Georgia. (Happy 103rd birthday.)
  • Both varieties of Thin Mints are vegan (but contain partially hydrogenated oil)
  • Troop Beverly Hills, the fictional Wilderness Girls troop from the 1989 movie starring Shelley Long and a young Jenny Lewis, accepted American Express but preferred Visa.
Troop Beverly Hills - It's cookie time dance
Troop Beverly Hills, “It’s Cookie Time” – 1989

 

Troop Beverly Hills - It's Cookie Time

Serenbe- Buckhead Betty Turns Green

The Nest

The Nest Serenbe

I had my first Serenbe experience last week, attending the opening of a Lew Oliver housing development called The Nest.

The cottages are fully self-sustaining and use solar panels.  The tour we took inside the model Nest reminded me of a prairie cottage with slanted roofs- with more children than bedrooms and I kept thinking about Abraham Lincoln’s childhood shack, but turned modern and green.  The theme kept reappearing- this place aims to depart from society and civilization as we know it; as we suffer it.  Pollution and gluttony and filth of urban life.  Lack of recycling bins.  Etc.  I think it’s all meant to be a giant circle- agricultural revolution –> industrial revolution –> mass commercialization and consumerism –> wealth established by few –> culture dictates the trendiness of (once counter-culture) green living –> the affluent afford to abandon the dirty consumerist city and move to Stepfordbe where eggs are fresh and granite is passe.  The trend is remarkably cyclical…

Stepfordbe

Serenbe road

Chef’s nickname for Serenbe was apt.  Idyllic and pristine, set 25 miles south of Atlanta in a rural area, Serenbe is a sustainable, green community that appears to be like any other small farm town from the outside.  But inside the two square miles, neatly laid roads and brand new buildings with a couple shops, bakeries, and restaurants are populated by some hybrid form of a Lululemon Buckhead Betty turned Berkeley, CA and transplanted into Georgia.  They are thin, wealthy proprietors of upcycled furniture shops featured in Architectural Digest, and clothing/jewelry boutiques, whose 450% markups on Turkish costume jewelry and tattered, mis-sized frocks caused me to actually LOL.  (Note: My uncontrollable spurt of laughter at the $250 price tag on a ring I swear I bought at Claire’s in seventh grade would have been gauche only if said blonde storeowner and her small, dark, frumpy assistant had been fully checked in. Instead, my overt, indelicate reaction practically whizzed over their wined- / pilled-out heads.)  I was overall amused.

For the serious inquiring reader: Here is an urbanexus blog post about Serenbe with more pix and info.

The Hil

The Hil served one of the five best restaurant meals I have ever eaten.  Impeccable service.  Ingredients are local and organic- they even have a small farm and garden outside the place, where I was forced to “pet” (read: gawk/coo over) the picturesque livestock by my animal-loving cohorts.  When a three-inch spider was discovered in my nest (hair on head), and the donkeys, though cute, depressed me at their lack of water or caretakers anywhere to be found, I simply wanted to eat indoors and stop interacting with my dinner, so to speak.

Maybe this return to simpler life is too abrupt.  It is certainly for the elite.  Re: poor city people eat cheap unhealthy food –> obesity, and being green is expensive (at least in Atlanta, we must pay to recycle, only some afford Whole Foods vs. McDonalds).  Except for public transportation vs. driving your own car– this is an inexpensive way to be green, accessible to all, but still stigmatized and arguably culturally humiliating, as Ludacris memorably explains in Crash.  I think everyone in Serenbe drove…

Watch the clip- “You Don’t Like Hockey” –Crash