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No twisting: Oreos get skinny, ‘sophisticated’ for adult market

NEW YORK — Oreos are getting a skinny new look, and its maker said the new
cookie is a “sophisticated” snack for grown-ups that isn’t meant to be twisted
or dunked.

Mondelez International Inc. said it will add Oreo Thins to its permanent
lineup in the U.S. starting next week.

The cookies look like regular Oreos and
have a similar cookie-to-filling ratio, except that they’re slimmer. That means
four of the cookies contain 140 calories, compared with 160 calories for three
regular Oreos.

And since they’re for adults, Oreo says they weren’t designed to be twisted
open or dunked. That’s even though about half of customers pull apart regular
Oreos before eating them, according to the company.

“If people want to do that, it’s clearly up to them,” said Janda Lukin,
senior director of Oreo for North America at parent company Mondelez

In explaining what exactly made them more grown-up, she said that if regular
Oreos are like pancakes, then Oreo Thins would be like crepes.

Despite having fewer calories per serving, Mondelez said the new cookies aren’t
meant to be a diet snack. Still, the Thins name could be a stealth way to
appeal to people who want to watch their weight, without the stigma of being
seen as a diet food.

Although the original Oreos started in the U.S. in 1912, Americans won’t be the
first to taste the Thins. The slimmer cookies were rolled out last year in China
to address the company’s tumbling cookie sales in the country.

Lukin said the slimmer cookies helped win back “lapsed users” in China, or
younger women who wanted something that wasn’t quite as rich.

In the first eight
months, she said Oreo Thins generated $40 million in sales.

During a conference call in April, Mondelez CEO Irene Rosenfeld had noted the
success of the Thins in China and said the company would make them available around the world.

The Thins could help the company’s North American cookie business, which
declined in the first three months of this year. Mondelez said the Thins will be
available starting July 13, and that they’ll cost the same as regular Oreos.

Lukin noted that it took months for the company to perfect manufacturing for
the Thins. Early on, she said 60 percent of the cookies were breaking, but that
the rate eventually came down to 3 percent.