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By Whip Villarreal, Los Angeles Times (TNS)

The iconic Oreo cookie is slimming down this summer.

Mondelez International Inc. said Monday that it is launching a new line of “Oreo Thins” in the U.S. next week. The skinny version of the century-old snack has 140 calories in a serving size of four, compared with 160 calories for three regular Oreos.

The thinner take on the snack was designed for adults looking for a “sophisticated cookie,” the company said.

“Having something that has the same time-tested Oreo taste but is more crispy and delicate is a smart move,” said food industry analyst Kevin Burke, founder and managing director of Trinity Capital.

Marketing the cookies as a gourmet product that is also lower in calories will help expand the market for Oreos, Burke said. “I think it will be an easy $100 million in sales,” he said.

Mondelez, whose brands include Ritz crackers, Trident gum and Tang, was created when Kraft Food Groups split in 2012.

Even though revenue from Mondelez has shrunk in recent years, its Oreo brand is king compared to the competition.

According to global sales data from Euromonitor, Oreo cookies overwhelmingly dominate with $3.2 billion in global sales when compared to other cookie franchises. The second highest cookie franchise is Gamesa with just slightly more than $1 billion in global sales.

Shares of Mondelez fell 29 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $41.26.

Photo: This but thinner. timlewisnm via Flickr

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