There’s a new cookie knocking on your door this year. It’s disguised as a healthified cookie, boasts an exotic fruit in its name, and will be adorably sold by little girls. Packaged like that, who could say no to the Girl Scouts’ Mango Creme with Nutrifusion? We can. And we think you should, too.
Let’s start by looking at the most obvious discrepancy – the mango. It’s safe to assume that the “tangy mango flavor” of this cookie would be derived from a bright orange fruit, but it doesn’t. If you look closely at the ingredients label published on GirlScoutCookies.org you can see that no where does the word mango appear. A mango cookie with no mango is quite perplexing.
Instead, the cookie is made with “nutrients from natural whole food concentrate of cranberry, pomegranate, orange, grape, strawberry, shiitake mushrooms.” We’ll credit them that it sounds better than most cookie ingredients, but mushrooms hardly seem like a reasonable replacement for the advertised fruit ingredient. Our dietitian, Mary Hartley, RD, pondered, “there has to be a story behind that.” We agreed and reached out to the Girl Scouts but our message was not returned.
The Mango Creme boasts something else that gives it a false health halo – Nutrifusion. Our understanding is that it means these cookies don’t have preservatives, trans fats and are fortified with a few vitamins. “If that’s NUTRIFUSION, then I’m not impressed,” said Hartley.
Gawker even calls it “bullshit,” in their coverage of the new cookie. They write “‘mango’” in this instance serves, not as an ingredient, but as a decoration to hang before the rest of the cookie’s name. A name which—in case you forgot—ends with the made-up science word ‘NutriFusion™.’”
Less alarming but still worth noting is the absence of vanilla in the ingredients because, after all, the cookie is described as “a vanilla and coconut cookie…”.
The cookie certainly tries to appeal to the more health conscious American buyer, but it leaves a lot to be desired. Hartley notes that even with the vitamin fortification that these are still just a cookie, not a health food, and that the sugar and fat are comparable to any other cookie.
“I think people are outraged by the pretense that these cookies are nutritious,” she said. “Cookies are not a new way to get your vitamins!”
We could also make the argument that the Girl Scouts are making young children sell nutritionally-void cookies in light of a childhood obesity epidemic, which hardly makes these the most socially responsible cookie around. We asked the organization if they had plans to abandon cookie sales and work with the girls to promote and sell a product that’s much more wholesome, but they did not respond. It’s a money maker we don’t expect them to end any time soon.
As with anything, we suggest eating the whole food. Want a mango? Eat a real mango. Want a cookie? Make something like these Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies, a guilt-free indulgence with almond flour, applesauce, and dark chocolate! Want to support the Scouts? Make a donation directly to the troop. Our research found that these $4 boxes only return about 40 to 60 cents to the troops.
By Brandi Koskie for DietsInReview.com