The Girl Scouts’ New ‘Healthy’ Cookie Is Actually Just A Cookie, No Matter How They Market It

Girl Scouts USA is introducing a new cookie to join its ubiquitous collection of Samoas and Tagalongs — but the “Mango Creme” is being marketed a bit differently than the rest of the products under the Girl Scouts brand, touted as a “nutritious” option because of an additive that claims to provide “major vitamins.”

Thanks to an additive called NutriFusion, the new cookie boasts of “mango-flavored creme filling with all the nutrient benefits of eating cranberries, pomegranates, oranges, grapes, and strawberries.”

The cookie does provide 15 percent of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of Vitamin B1 per serving, as well as 5 percent RDI of Vitamins A, C, D, E, and B6. But those are small values compared to the vitamins available in natural foods. You can get a full serving of Vitamin C from drinking an eight ounce glass of orange juice, three times the daily serving of Vitamin E in one cup of sunflower seeds, 41 percent of your recommended Vitamin A from eating just one baby carrot, and more than a quarter of the recommended Vitamin B1 in one serving of tuna fish.

And a serving of Mango Creme cookies also include 20 percent of the recommended daily saturated fat intake. That makes three Mango Cremes roughly equivalent to the saturated fat in four Thin Mints, two Samoas, and two Tagalongs. Rather than representing an especially nutritious choice, the Mango Creme is really just another cookie.

Nonetheless, some of the country’s biggest food companies employ misleading marketing tactics to make their products appear healthier, and the Girl Scouts aren’t the first to oversell the amount of fruit in their food. Cereal companies also often use packaging that suggests their products contain real fruit — when in reality, that “fruit” is actually nothing more than soybean oil and dried fruit pieces.

Companies can get away with this practice as long as they print accurate ingredients on the label, which the FDA oversees. Some consumer advocates point out that may not be the best method of disclosure, since Americans often rely on packaging rather than the fine print on the back of the box. The FDA is currently considering whether it should update its standards for energy drink manufacturers, amid concerns that the popular drinks often don’t disclose how much caffeine they actually contain, but tighter regulations may be a long time coming for the rest of the food industry.