RED SPRINGS — It is that time of year again.
Girl Scout cookie-selling season has returned. But this year it has a twist — a gluten-free cookie.
Girl Scout Troop No. 1623 in Red Springs, like other troops in the N.C. Coastal Pines Council, began selling the cookies door-to-door last week.
“We’re glad to take part again this year,” said Kim McMillan, a troop leader for Red Springs. “We got some great new cookies as well as some old favorites.”
North Carolina Coastal Pines is one of 20 councils that is serving as a test market for the bite-size chocolate chip shortbread cookie that retails for $5 per package. The pilot program was developed in response to volunteers, girls and consumers who asked for a gluten free Girl Scout cookie, officials said.
Available in a 5-ounce, resealable foil pouch, the cookies have no artificial colors, no artificial flavors, no high fructose corn syrup, no palm oil and no hydrogenated oils.
“The Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Shortbread cookie are pretty tasty,” McMillan said. “I think people will like it.”
In addition to the gluten-free cookie, the sale brings with it another new cookie — a Cranberry Citrus Crisp.
The long-time favorites of the program include Thin Mints, Peanut Butter Patties, Peanut Butter Sandwiches, Shortbread, Thanks-A-Lots, Caramel deLites and Lemonades. The price for each box of these cookie varieties is $3.50.
The Red Springs troop, which includes about 45 girls, hopes to sell 20,000 boxes this year. The Scouts sold about 17,000 boxes in 2013.
McMillan said the group plans use a portion of the proceeds to visit Walt Disney World in April.
Lisa Jones, chief executive officer of Girl Scouts – North Carolina Coastal Pines, said cookie sales help teach girls skills such as setting goals and managing money, while the revenue enables Girl Scout councils to provide education and training in areas such as first aid/CPR, math, science, leadership and outdoor exploration. It also provides scholarships for girls to attend summer camps.
“When customers purchase a box of Girl Scout Cookies, they are supporting a program helping girls grow into leaders in their own life, in business, and in their communities,” Jones said in a statement. “We are very excited for this year’s sale and pleased to be one of the councils offering the new gluten free cookie.”
The annual cookie sales generate about $790 million for the Girl Scouts of the USA.
For information, visit www.nccoastalpines.org or call Girl Scouts – North Carolina Coastal Pines toll-free at 800-284-4475 .