Close call on cookie competition

Mel Lhuillier | Marlin Chronicle 

With the modern trend of cookie franchises, storefronts are popping up everywhere. Lately, competition has surged for the number one cookie spot and, for the students on Virginia Wesleyan’s campus, the battle continues to brew between Crumbl Cookies and Insomnia Cookies. The qualitative results were close, as many students held similar feelings and opinions. 

To collect the perspectives of Marlins in real time, a poll was posted on Instagram, allowing VWU students to vote for which shop they preferred and to voice their opinions. In total, 47% of students who answered preferred Crumbl while 53% preferred Insomnia. 

A stack of opinions piled up for Crumbl, far more than for Insomnia, as the topic seemed to polarize the community. Some comments that were left include: “The surprise menu is so fun and I love it,” “The cookies taste better, and the icing is more enjoyable” and “Insomnia sucks,” which was said multiple times by students. 

Some comments made in regards to Insomnia were: “[Insomnia] does not have all the extra toppings, [which] makes it more savory” and “More cookies for a cheaper price.”

With this information in mind, both franchises had to start somewhere. Before jumping into the tea, knowing how these companies came about is super important.

Crumbl is a family-owned business, founded by two cousins, James McGowan and Sawyer Hemsley. Rapidly earning fame for being the world’s best-created milk-chocolate chip cookie inspired them to work for something bigger. The brand has now created their own niche approach to the humble cookie, focusing on developing highly unique and delicious cookies. 

In 2018, the cousins established their weekly rotating menu, showcasing four iconic cookie flavors at a time. Inspiration for their creations comes from all types of food, treats and desserts. The brand is also known for its iconic pink packaging, helping the cookies be “Instagram-able.” 

Crumbl has made a huge impact on the dessert community. Despite only being open for a little under five years, they have opened over 600+ bakeries in 47 states, nationwide. The brand offers the following: two different-sized cookies (regular and mini), cookies that can be shipped and a minimum of 10 cookies per flavor. 

Aside from their famous cookies, Crumbl also offers ‘Crumbl Cream,’ essentially ice cream. The Crumbl Cream flavors include brownie fudge, cookie dough crunch, peanut butter brittle, raspberry cheesecake, snickerdoodle and classic vanilla bean. Virginia Wesleyan junior Avary Smith said, “I like Crumbl because they always have different flavors every week. It creates a bonding experience for my mom and I. We will text each other the flavors, and rate them by which ones we think we will like the most.”

Insomnia Cookies, on the other hand, has a very different origin story and upbringing. The idea found roots in a college dorm room at the University of Pennsylvania, simply because college student Seth Berkowitz and his roommates were hungry one late night. This brand was meant to redefine late nights, food delivery and staying focused. It is the sweet reward for the insomniacs and the party goers. 

Established in 2003, Insomnia Headquarters has found a home in college towns across the nation. Its menu is overloaded with fun options, offering far more than Crumbl. It includes different classic and deluxe cookies, brownies, ice cream, ice cream cookie sandwiches, cookie cakes, combo packs, boxes of up to 500 cookies, vegan and gluten-free cookies and catering opportunities. 

Sophomore Kayleigh Turner, president and panhellenic delegate of Sigma Sigma Sigma, however, was able to comment on her terrible experience with Insomnia. 

“The last time I went, I ordered a salted caramel cookie. The staff, however, gave me a peanut butter cookie, and I have an anaphylactic nut allergy,” Turner said. For a brand that clearly tries to cater to food allergies and dietary restrictions, this was more than a faux pas. “As soon as I took a bite, I knew immediately. My friends had to not only call 911, but stab me with my epi-pen. I rode in an ambulance to the hospital, where I stayed there for four hours being monitored,” Turner said. This sweet treat turned into a medical emergency and when one of Turner’s friends alerted Insomnia workers of the situation “they did not care, just responded with ‘oh,’” Turner said.

This instance was not the only altercation students on campus have had with Insomnia. Smith also expressed that the staff were rude. An important question addressed in the interview process, besides memorable experiences, was if there was any recommendation the student could give to the company.

Smith said, “Crumbl should have later hours, as well as being open on Sundays.” Turner recommended that Crumbl should add more accommodating desserts to the menu, as allergens are common in today’s society. She also wished Insomnia could take up labeling their cookies better, as well as adapt a protocol for allergic reactions–ensuring the safety of their consumers. 

Desserts are a huge hit, especially close to college campuses, and it is so important to get feedback from the population whose late night cravings fund these organizations. Who do you think steals your vote, Crumbl or Insomnia?

By Madison Dzwonkowski