The new Mango Creme cookie from Girl Scouts of America
Ever wondered why we can't make more cookies that are good for us? Here's why: They come with a price, or rather a patent. Girl Scouts, an organization that boasts the world's three best fund-raising tools (Thin Mints, Samoas, and Tagalongs) recently introduced its latest treat: Mango Crèmes with NutriFusion™. Note the TM. That's where the problems begin.
In an attempt to give Girl Scout cookies a healthy makeover, ABC Bakers--Girl Scout's official pastry think tank--concocted a "tropical-inspired" sandwich cookie doused in vitamins. Make that vitamin product. Critics are crying foul over the new cookie's added nutritional element: NutriFusion. Not only is that the name of an ingredient, it's the name of a company behind a "scientific process that…when added to foods and beverages, supercharges their nutritional value," so says the company website.
"NutriFusion is the latest in manufacturers' attempts at making junk food healthier," Jason Boehm, a board certified nutritionist, tells Yahoo Shine. "Fortify it with nutrients, throw in fiber, sweeten it with a so-called healthier sweetener, but a cookie is still a cookie, period."
Boehm joins a chorus of criticism over Girl Scout cookies' new "healthier" product. On the surface, Mango Crèmes take their cue from the Oreo: two biscuits sealed by icing. These Girl Scout biscuits, however, are coconut flavored and the icing is supposed to resemble a mango, making them appear like a healthy-fruity delight.
According to ABC Bakers, three mango cookies provide 15 percent of your Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) of Vitamin B1 and 5 percent RDI of Vitamins A, C, D, E, and B6. They also claim the cookies "have all the nutrient benefits of eating cranberries, pomegranates, oranges, grapes, and strawberries."
But even NutriFusion doesn't admit it's as good as nature's homemade stuff. "NutriFusion™ is not intended as a replacement for eating raw fruits and vegetables," reads a statement on the company website. "Rather, we target processed foods with the aim of enhancing the nutritional profiles of foods that dominate the human diet."
If this all sounds like the asterisk warning at the end of a drug commercial, welcome to the probable future of food.
Trying to understand what NutriFusion actually is--and if it's actually good for you--involves a maze-like tunnel of trademark signs and portmanteaus. From the company website: "NutriFusion™ is the company that produces Grand Fusion™...GrandFusion™ is a blend of fruits and/or vegetables that can significantly increase the nutritional profile, and therefore the marketability, of food, beverage and snack products."
In statement to Yahoo! Shine, William J.H. Grand, the president of NutriFusion, clarified some of the confusion and responded to the backlash against his company's partnership with Girl Scouts of America.
"The product has NO chemical process," Grand tells Shine. "It is 100 percent natural and consists only of fruits and vegetables." He also states that Nutrifusion, and its process of dehydrating and powdering fruits, doesn't affect "taste or functionality of the products it goes into and is 100 percent natural."
In response to the criticism (Jezebel's Laura Beck called the cookie concept "grotesque" while Gawker's Caity Weaver called it "your new nightmare") Grand shared: "The only criticism came from one uninformed writer that does not understand the severe nutrient deficit that is rampant in the U.S."
"The Girl Scout Cookie program is acting responsibly (like Girl Scouts) and they are actually doing something positive," Grand continues. "The consumer will continue to eat snack foods, but here, the snack is healthier and contributes [to their health] in a small, but positive way."
Not everyone wants a healthier alternative to the classic cookie, especially when it comes to Girl Scout's offerings. "When I eat a cookie, I want it to be an act of decadence," writes the Stir's Adriana Valdez. "Otherwise it's no fun!"
You want fun? Buy a box of Thin Mints.