Mar 15

Cookie Science!

Posted by Matty

Our house has been inundated with sugar lately, thanks to the Girl Scouts peddling cookies outside of the grocery store. We all buy boxes of cookies, but how much do we really know about these delicious treats? In this article, we perform some scientific analysis of Girl Scout Cookies and try to determine if there are adequate substitutes available.

Introduction

My sister recently reminded me of something that I’d forgotten. Namely, that Keebler sells clones of two of the more popular Girl Scout cookies: Thin Mints and Samoas. I wanted to run some comparisons. How close are they? Can people tell the difference? Does one version taste better than the other? Inquiring minds want to know.

Mint Cookies

Mint Cookies

Coconut cookies

Coconut cookies

Testing Methodology

In order to find out the answer, I performed a small blind study. It was easy to find test subjects using the following line, “Hey, do you want to eat some free cookies for science?” In total 12 tests were performed. There is the possibility of a high margin of error with such a small test group. Further testing may be necessary. (Nom nom nom.)

Test subjects were given four cookies labeled A, B, C, and D. While eating each cookie, the subjects completed a small questionnaire which allowed the respondents to rate each cookie on a scale of one to five (where one is least flavorful, and five is most delicious). The matrix included:

  • Coconuttiness/Mintiness
  • Taste/flavor
  • Texture
  • Chocolateness
  • Overall taste

In addition, each test subject was asked to guess whether the cookie was the Girl Scout version or the Keebler version.

test

Here are the results.

Cost Analysis

Thin Mints cost$3.50 for a box of 32, while Grasshoppers cost $1.99 for a box of 40. At the time of testing, Grasshoppers were on sale at my local store. Your cost may differ. The cost per Thin Mint is approximately 11 cents, while the cost per Grasshopper is approximately 5 cents.

Samoas cost $3.50 for a box of 15, while Coconut Dreams cost 1.99 for a box of 18. At the time of testing, Coconut dreams were on sale at my local store. Your cost may differ. The cost per Samoa is approximately 23 cents, while the cost per Coconut Dream is approximately 11 cents.

Charitable donations

I looked into the proceeds from the sale of the cookies. Approximately 70% of the proceeds of the Girl Scout cookies go to support the Girl Scouts organization at the national and local level. Proceeds from Keebler seem to directly benefit Keebler.

donations

Testing results: Mint

The results of the mint cookie testing showed that more people preferred the taste profile of Grasshopper cookies. In every category tested, Keebler Grasshoppers showed a distinct advantage.

gvstm

Testing Results: Coconut

The results of the coconut cookie testing showed that more people preferred the taste profile of Samoas. While both cookies tied for coconut flavor, the Samoas rated higher in every other category.

cdvss

Testing Results: Identification

During testing, each subject was asked to provide their best guess as to which cookie they were eating: either the Girl Scout cookie, or the Keebler variant.

Out of the two choices, subjects responded correctly 50% of the time. In other words, no, people can’t differentiate between the Girl Scout cookies and the Keebler counterparts.

Summary

If you are interested in enriching the lives of girls by helping them learn values such as honesty, fairness, courage, compassion, character, sisterhood, confidence, and citizenship, then the choice is clear: buy Girl Scout cookies. Through your gluttony, you’re helping the world become a better place.

However, if Girl Scout cookies are not available, the Keebler clones are a good substitute.

Test Administrator

Test Administrator

3 Responses to “Cookie Science!”

  1. Nanc Says:

    Oh, my. What a cute scientist, altho this pic doesn’t show how much she was swimming in that lab coat!

    Science IS fun (and tasty)!

  2. P-la Says:

    Considering I have yet to see even one girl scout this cookie season AND I’m on a budget this research was extremely informative and helpful. Although my waistline does not thank you.

  3. Jen da Purse Ho Says:

    what a wonderful experiment. and i like the lab coat on that little evil scientist. :D

    thanks for geeking this all out. :D

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