Mom Petitions Girl Scouts to Drop Nestle Partnership

PHOTO: A California mother of two has petitioned the Girl Scouts to end their partnership with Nestle over a cookie-flavored drink that contains 48 grams of sugar per bottle.PlayMonica Serratos
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As Monica Serratos walked through the supermarket with her two young daughters, one of them pointed to a drink bottle featuring the Girl Scouts logo alongside a familiar brown rabbit.

"They were like, 'Oh Mom, can we get one?'" Serratos said.

It was one of the limited-edition, Girl-Scout-cookie-flavored drinks from Nestle Nesquik, she said.

Both Serratos' daughters -- first and third graders -- are Girl Scouts, but when she saw nutrition information for the Nesquik cookie drinks, she was shocked to find that they contained 48 grams of sugar per bottle. The bottle contains two servings, but even then, a serving has more than twice the amount of sugar children are supposed to consume in a full day, according to recommendations from the American Heart Association.

PHOTO: Nestles Girl Scouts inspired Thin Mint Nesquik milk.Nestle
Nestle's Girl Scouts inspired Thin Mint Nesquik milk.

Having recently taught her daughters' Girl Scout troops about the hidden sugar in their juices and sodas, Serratos showed her daughters the label.

"Their faces literally dropped," said Serratos, a California mother of four and a former bakery owner.

Serratos said she thinks the Girl Scouts should be helping to promote healthy habits, not marketing sugary drinks to children. So she started a petition on Change.org to convince Girl Scouts to end the partnership.

In response, a Nestle spokesperson told ABC News. "Nesquik has a limited licensing partnership with Girl Scouts USA. It borrows the fun and flavor equity of Girl Scout cookies and applies it to a 14 oz. ready-to-drink package made with the adult consumer in mind."

But Serratos doesn't think the drinks are for adults.

"It's not being marketed toward adults," she said. "We're not interested in this little brown bunny on the bottle."

Serratos said she loves the positive things the Girl Scouts represent, which is why she enrolled her daughters and leads two troops, but she thinks the organization falls short when it comes to sugary foods and drinks. Even cookie and candy sales are things she'd like to steer away from.

She's not alone. More than 6,000 people have signed her petition.

Dr. Deborah Cohen, a senior natural scientist at RAND and author of "A Big Fat Crisis: The Hidden Influences Behind the Obesity Epidemic -- and How We Can End It," said food marketing trains consumers -- adults, as well as kids -- to want items that are bad for them by finding ways to associate the foods with positive feelings.

"The reason we have obesity is because we've allowed our country to become a food swamp," Cohen said. "It's basically making people like Pavlov's dog. That’s why these partnerships are so insidious."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood obesity has more than doubled in the last 30 years. One in three children and adolescents is now overweight or obese, according to the CDC.

Girl Scouts of the USA did not reply to repeated requests for comment via email, telephone and social media. However, according to the organization’s website, itconsiders its cookies a "snack or special treat" meant to be enjoyed in moderation. In 2011, Girl Scouts launched an obesity-fighting partnership with the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation called "Together Counts."