Would a Samoa by any other name taste as sweet?
That's the question area cookie lovers will be facing when Girl Scout cookie sales begin Saturday.
The Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri have switched bakeries after 20 years, from Little Brownie Bakers, a subsidiary of Keebler, to ABC Bakers, a subsidiary of Interbake Foods. Those are the only two companies licensed to make official Girl Scout cookies, but each owns its recipes and cookie names.
So the cookies formerly known as Samoas — vanilla cookies coated in caramel, sprinkled with toasted coconut and laced with chocolate stripes — are now Caramel deLites.
The decision really came down to the dough.
"This was a financial decision," said Donna Martin, CEO of the Eastern Missouri Council. Last year, the Girl Scouts sold 3 million boxes of cookies, which brought $6.5 million to the council and $3 million to individual troops, said Martin. ABC Bakers supplies cookies to 33 percent of troops nationally, a spokeswoman said. The taste may be slightly different, but the cookies will still be delicious, assured Patrice Martin, director of product sales for the local council. Trefoils are now called Shortbread, Tagalongs are Peanut Butter Patties and the Do-si-do is a Peanut Butter Sandwich cookie.
The Thin Mint will not change names. It is the sacred cow (and best-seller) of all Girl Scout cookies.
The Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois used Little Brownie Bakers; their sales are done in the fall.
For some, the decision was hard to stomach.
"I personally think they should come up with some catchier names or use the same names," said Lou Kramme, a Kirkwood troop leader and neighborhood cookie manager. It may confuse buyers who have bought the same cookies for decades, she said. The Girl Scouts sell perhaps the most scrutinized cookies in America. People take notice when the boxes shrink or price goes up a quarter.
Jeff Insco, president and creative director of UPBrand Collaborative, based in St. Louis, says that when it comes to branding, change is typically not good, especially when people have an emotional attachment and memories connected to a brand name.
But the more straightforward names could be an opportunity for the Girl Scouts, he said.
Their sales staff is unique. They are delivering to your door, with cute smiles and doe eyes. "They can overcome the name change. I think they can turn this into a real positive," he said.
Indeed, loyal buyer Fowler Jones of Overland Park, Kan., says he would continue to buy Thin Mints from his 8-year-old daughter even if they were renamed "StraightToYourButts."