Want to see evidence of inflation? Look no further than the Girl Scouts.
After years of holding prices steady, more Girl Scout councils are boosting cookie prices to $5 a box.
“The No. 1 factor was us hearing feedback from adult volunteers that girls had such a great experience selling cookies, but they weren’t earning enough money from them,” said Jan Goldstein, chief marketing officer at Girls Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts, in a phone interview.
Goldstein’s council is raising the price to $5 per box from $4, the first hike in at least eight years. With the increase, troops will now receive an average of 90 cents per box of cookies, up from an average of 62 cents per box.
The Girl Scouts organization is divided into 112 local councils, which set their own cookie pricing based on factors that include ingredients, market size and availability, and shipping costs. As a result, prices fluctuate by region and year.
For Goldstein’s region, the round $5 number makes it easier for girls to sell the cookies without keeping track of loose change, while the 25 percent jump means the council can head off future increases for a longer time.
“We don’t want to be making an announcement once every few years,” Goldstein said.
The Eastern Massachusetts group will be joining at least two other councils, both in California, in raising prices this year.
But these groups aren’t the first to breach the $5 mark. Girl Scouts in high cost-of-living areas such as California and Hawaii were already offering $5 cookies.
Before this season’s increase, the Girl Scouts of California’s Central Coast had not boosted prices in a decade, wrote Tammy Gentry, its vice president of marketing, in an email.
“The council sees the increase as an opportunity to offset natural price increases for running the cookie program — from the cost of raw materials and bakery production to transportation,” Gentry said.
About 70 percent of proceeds go to the councils and the troops while the remainder goes to the baker, Gentry said.
The Girl Scouts San Gorgonio Council in California debated an increase since 2013, but made the move ahead of the 2016 season. The increase to $5 from $4 is its first since 2004.
With these two councils’ decision, all of California will be at the $5 mark, wrote Elizabeth Locke-Thomas, the council’s executive vice president, in an email.
Maintaining the $4 price point was something the council just could not do any longer, “as the cost of the cookies from our distributor continues to rise as does infrastructure costs and, most importantly, programmatic costs,” said Locke-Thomas.
While the 25 percent hike might seem steep, it is actually smaller than overall cookie inflation. Since 2004, cookies prices have jumped 32 percent, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.