Even the new Girl Scout cookie is having supply-chain issues - but it's worth tracking down

·4 min read

Supply-chain problems have threatened many a culinary treasure in recent months: Thanksgiving turkeys, Buffalo wings and champagne are among the items to be snarled in the pandemic-era's famously clogged routes that products take to get to customer's tables.

And now we can add another delicacy to the list. The Girl Scouts' newest cookie, a brownie-adjacent confection dubbed Adventurefuls that scouts are selling this cookie season alongside such stalwarts as Thin Mints and Samoas, is in short supply in the Washington area. On Friday, a message went out to scout leaders and the volunteers who help orchestrate cookie sales notifying them of the problem.

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"As you know our nation is experiencing supply chain issues related to the pandemic," read the message from the product program team at the Nation's Capitol region, which is the largest of the organization's chapters and spans 25 counties in Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia and the District. The organization apparently will be able to fulfill Adventurefuls orders that customers had placed with individual scouts, but said there were not enough boxes on hand to meet the orders for the booths that many troops operate outside grocery and other retail stores, or to stock "cupboards" where troops can refresh their supplies.

The problem emerged this month, when the Nation's Capitol region informed cookie volunteers that the Adventurefuls - described as "indulgent brownie-inspired cookies with caramel-flavored creme and a hint of sea salt," - had been hit with supply-chain issues.

"Due to extremely high demand and unprecedented covid related labor shortages in the facility where Adventurefuls are produced, our Adventureful cookie order will be capped at 7% of our total cookie sales," the message read. But after The Post inquired about the shortage, the national organization said it had fixed the issue by sourcing more cookies from the other of two bakers the organization relies on to produce the 2 million-plus boxes sold annually by local troops to raise money for their own programs, camps and other activities.

Little Brownie Bakers, the Louisville, Ky.-based baker that supplies the Nation's Capitol region troops, did not return calls seeking details about the labor shortage.

The national organization was able to meet the shortfall using cookies from ABC Bakers, its other commercial producer, according to a spokeswoman. But the executive director of the Washington-area chapter ultimately decided not to use the ABC product. Lidia Soto-Harmon explained that it wasn't feasible to get a second shipment delivered and distributed in time for the chapter's booth-sale season, which lasts from February 4 to March 13. Volunteers are already stretched thin, she said. "And we just don't have the bandwidth to come back to pick up one cookie," she said.

No other cookie variety was being affected by the labor issue, Soto-Harmon noted, and people who want to try Adventurefuls can order them online.

Besides, she said, when it comes to the Girl Scouts' cookie sales, the cookies themselves aren't the whole point. "Yes, cookies are for the flavor," Soto-Harmon said. "But what people who are buying them are doing is showing that they want to support girls and girls' leadership."

Speaking of flavors, what are would-be buyers missing out on when it comes to the Adventurefuls? I was able to score a box, thanks to my colleague Matt Brooks, who stumbled across a booth while on a road trip in North Carolina.

Our take: This is a flavor worth seeking out. The Adventurefuls (we tried ABC Bakers' version; the Little Brownie version differs slightly) were much crispier than we had expected, given that their muse was a brownie. The crunchy chocolate-cookie base was reminiscent of the disc in a Thin Mint (widely considered to be the Ur-Girl Scout cookie), and the caramel topping lent a pleasantly butterscotch-like flavor.

This is the Girl Scouts' second cookie season under pandemic conditions. Last year, the organization reported much lower sales than usual, with many troops opting not to set up their usual booths because of safety concerns. With vaccines and boosters widely available, things are expected to look a little more normal. Last year, girls in the Nation's Capitol chapter set up 4,730 booths; this year, they are planning 11,665, according to Soto-Harmon. "Parents seem more comfortable with their girls selling at booths," she said.

And this year, people in many areas, including Washington, can order Girl Scout cookies through the DoorDash delivery service, too.

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