The Girl Scouts of the USA have been selling their beloved cookies to raise funds for more than a century. More recently, though, the organization’s logo has been emblazoned on a new treat: think! MINIS protein snack bars. think! (a brand owned by Glanbia Performance Nutrition) has expanded its line of protein bars with a number of new flavors, including three inspired by varieties of the Girl Scouts cookies.

We checked in with Alan Brooks, brand director with Glanbia Performance Nutrition, to talk about the collaboration, the history of the brand, and trends spotted around the recent Expo West event.

Jenni Spinner: Could you please tell us a bit about the history of think!--how it got started, how it’s grown, and what makes the brand stand out?

Alan Brooks: think! was founded by a single mom and female entrepreneur, Lizanne Falsetto in 1999. Combining her passion for eating well, living well and feeling great, she wanted to create nutritious food that could help support overall wellness (and taste great too!) And thus, think! protein bars were born with thoughtful ingredients, protein packed to help support muscle and also gluten free. Glanbia Performance Nutrition acquired think! back in 2015 and has grown the brand into a top protein bar line that is continuing to stand out in the category. What makes think! stand out is how we lead with taste by using only quality ingredients with no artificial flavors or colors. 

JS: Having been launched in 1999, think! is pretty much a pioneer in the space--could you please share some perspective about some of the reasons why the brand has endured for a quarter century and continued to grow, while many other BFY bars haven’t been as fortunate? 

AB: Over the last 25 years, think! has remained focused on three main criteria for consumers: great taste, desired ingredients and satisfying a craving. Since Glanbia Performance Nutrition’s acquisition of think! in 2015, we’ve seen continued growth in the way we’ve been able to lead with taste while maintaining a balance of flavor and nutrition. It's hard to stand out in a crowd, but we've done a great job doing just that by offering a broad portfolio of delightful protein-forward snacking options that meet consumers' needs across multiple occasions.  

JS: I hear you recently returned from the hustle and bustle of Expo West—how did the show go for you?

AB: Expo West was the perfect venue for us to introduce our latest innovation!  We were excited to share our new offering with folks in the industry and get live feedback at the show. There was a lot of enthusiasm and excitement around the new think! MINIS launch as well as our collaboration with the Girl Scouts on three new cookie-inspired flavors. This format is a first for us and we're looking forward to launching these products this summer.

JS: Could you tell us your views on the trends spotted around the show floor, and how that might be reflected in what we see on product shelves in the coming months (as well as how think! fits into those emerging trends)?

AB: One of the most prominent trends that caught our attention was the significant emphasis placed on taste and flavor, combined with better-for-you benefits. This trend reflects a pivotal shift in consumer preferences towards products that not only prioritize health but also deliver an exceptional sensory experience. There was a lot to see but it was evident that brands are increasingly recognizing the importance of marrying both taste with wellness. We’ve seen this trend for a long time, but I anticipate continued growth and innovation in this space as brands strive to meet the evolving demands of today's consumers who don’t want to compromise. 

JS: Please tell us about some of the recent product innovations think! has come out with--it’s a lot, so please feel free to share highlights, or run through all of them. 

AB: To continue momentum and drive excitement in the category, we’ve remained focused on innovation. We know consumers are seeking on-the-go nutrition and looking for protein snack options that support their busy lifestyle and don't sacrifice taste. Last spring we launched two new dessert-inspired flavors within the High Protein line that offer a delicious treat that doubles as a protein-rich snack. Boston Crème Pie, one of the new flavors, won a new product award in the snack bar category which has quickly become a fan favorite.

think boston creme.jpgSnackable options, particularly the MINIS format, are helping boost the wellness bars category. With full-size bars containing 20 grams of protein and over 200 calories, the bars can start to feel more like a meal replacement option rather than a snack. When a consumer is shopping for a snack, offerings with 100-calories and between 5-9 grams of protein is what they’re seeking. This is how think! MINIS were born.

JS: How did the partnership with the Girl Scouts on the MINIS come about, and could you tell us about the cookie-inspired items? 

AB: When we were exploring opportunities for think! to broaden our frame-of-reference to better-for-you snacks that are absolutely delicious, the word “joy” kept coming to mind. We believe mindful snacking can be a joyful experience and how can Girl Scout Cookies come to mind without putting a smile on your face? 

JS: What’s next for think!? Any previews you could share about new product launches, similar interesting collaborations, etc. would be great.

Currently, we’re excited about all the momentum around MINIS. The seven craveable flavors, including three exclusive Girl Scout Cookie-inspired flavors will be available in-store and online beginning in June 2024. 

JS: Do you have a favorite think! Product?

AB: You truly can’t go wrong with any of the great flavors across the think! portfolio. If I have to pick one, I’m reaching for our think! Girl Scouts S’mores MINIS protein bar. It tastes absolutely incredible and is a fantastic spin on a nostalgic favorite.