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Celiac Disease

Girl Scout Cookies Go Gluten-Free

Girl Scouts have been selling cookies for nearly 100 years, but this year, they’re adding something new to their menu: gluten-free cookies.

“Millions across the nation have made gluten-free diets a lifestyle change,” the organization’s chief communications executive Kelly Parisi told Allergic Living. “Girl Scouts recognizes there are people avoiding gluten for various reasons, and we wanted to assure that all customers could enjoy our delicious cookies.”

Celiac disease affects approximately 1 out of 133 Americans, making a gluten-free diet a medical necessity, but millions of others have gone gluten-free by choice. A 2013 survey estimates that nearly 1 in 3 Americans claimed they cut down on or completely eliminate gluten from their diet.

With this growing demand, Girl Scouts last year experimented with selling a gluten-free chocolate chip shortbread cookie. Since that proved successful, this year the organization is introducing the certified gluten-free “Trios” and “Toffee-tastic” varieties, which will be sold nationwide (though availability may vary based on location).

gf-cookiesNew gluten-free Toffee-tastic (left) and Trios (right) Girl Scout cookies

Trios is a chocolate chip, peanut butter oatmeal cookie that manufacturer ABC Bakers makes with certified gluten-free whole grain oats, while Toffee-tastic is a buttery cookie made with rice flour and toffee bits by Little Brownie Baker.

The two gluten-free treats complete a lineup of a dozen different cookies being sold by nearly 1.5 million Girl Scouts across the U.S. this spring – a practice that raised nearly $800 million for Girl Scout troops and their activities last year.

“The response to our new cookies has been overwhelmingly positive, with press and cookie customers already picking out their newest favorite,” said Parisi.

Due to the increased demand for gluten-free products, this sector has experienced rapid growth. By 2016, sales of gluten-free products, such as the new Girl Scout cookies, are expected to exceed $15 billion.

Both ABC Bakers and Little Brownie Baker manufacturing company also provide allergen information on their ingredients list, making it clear if products contain any of the Top 8 allergens, as well as “may contain” warnings for cookies that share equipment with other allergen-containing products.

“If the allergen in concern is not listed below the ingredient statement, we are confident that the product is safe for consumption,” stated Little Brownie Bakers on their website. ABC Bakers, which makes the “Trios” cookie, states that they worked with multiple food organizations to ensure that their manufacturing procedures and labeling lead to safe treats for those with food allergies. With such practices, Thanks-A-Lots, Lemonades, and the classic Thin Mints are able to be free of dairy, eggs, peanuts and tree nuts.

In Canada, the Girl Guides organization does not currently have a gluten-free cookie option. However, all of their cookies – the chocolatey mints sold in the fall and the classic vanilla or chocolate cookies sold in the spring – are made by Dare Foods Limited in a dedicated nut- and peanut-free facility.

Girl Scout cookies will be sold door-to-door, at booths in public places and online through a new digital platform from January to April this year, though specific dates vary based on location.

For more information on the gluten-free and other Girl Scout cookies, see these links:

  • Allergen information and ingredients on Girl Scouts’ Meet the Cookies page.
  • For more on ABC Bakers’ manufacturing practices, click here.
  • For more on Little Brownie Bakers’ manufacturing practices, click here.
  • For more allergy information about Girl Guides of Canada, click here.

Next: Our Allergy-friendly Guide to Girl Scout Cookies

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