Last month we introduced you to the newest cookie inducted into the Girl Scout family: The Mango Creme. The crunchy vanilla and coconut cookies with a mango-flavored filling have been marketed as a healthier snack for kids because they’re fortified with vitamins, but the treats are under fire for their lofty claims. Last Friday, which happened to be National Girl Scout Cookie Day, representatives from the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) sent a letter to the organization urging the Scouts to lay off the Mango Creme health hype.
According to the cookie manufacturers, ABC Bakers, the mango-creme filling has all the nutritional benefits of eating “cranberries, pomegranates, oranges, grapes, and strawberries.” The filling includes an ingredient called NutriFusion, which provides 15 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin B1, and five percent of vitamins A, C, D, E, and B6 per 3-cookie serving. Wowza!
Don’t call up your neighborhood green-vested scout just yet. The problem with the cookies is that they’re still cookies. Sure Mango Cremes have zero grams of trans fat, no hydrogenated oils, and no preservatives, but they still have more sugar and more fat than most of the other Girl Scout cookie flavors.
Two representatives of CSPI, Michael Jacobson and Margo Wootan, refuted the claim that Mango Cremes have the same nutritional benefits eating fresh fruit. What’s more, they called out the bad stuff baked into the cookies — “4 grams of heart-disease-promoting saturated fat and 11 grams of tooth-decaying sugars per three-cookie serving.” Their main concern is that marketing these sweet treats as a health food is misleading to Girl Scouts and customers alike. Jacobson and Wootan closed the letter by encouraging the Scouts to immediately stop promoting the cookies as healthful, and to “find a healthier way to raise funds.”
Is it Legit?
We’d say so. Advertising unhealthy food that’s fortified with healthy stuff (micronutrients are added in) can no doubt give kids and parents the wrong idea. While a letter asking a big company like the Girl Scouts to alter their marketing strategy may not make much of a change this cookie selling season, it — and the resulting fallout — could make a world of difference for the future.
What do you think of the “healthy cookie” message being sent to kids? Do you think the letter will change the Girl Scouts’ marketing campaign? Let us know in the comment section below, or tweet the author @nicmcdermott.
Photo: Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar