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Starbucks to debut lower-calorie items

SEATTLE Starbucks Coffee is adding a line of lower-calorie panini sandwiches and packaged snacks next week in an effort to appeal to calorie-counting customers.

The four new paninis, which have fewer than 400 calories each, will be available beginning Jan. 12 at more than 4,200 stores equipped with warming ovens. The new sandwiches include a Chicken Santa Fe Panini, a Roasted Tomatoes and Mozzarella Panini, a Ham and Swiss Panini and a Tuna Melt Panini. Prices range from $5.45 to $5.75 each.

"Reducing the number of calories -- even slightly -- can have a great benefit over time," said Katie Thomson, a senior nutritionist at Starbucks. "Saving just 100 calories a day adds up to about 10 pounds of weight loss per year. And we know cutting calories should not mean depriving customers of great taste."

Also next week, Starbucks will stock its retail selections with new packaged snacks that contain 220 calories or fewer per serving. The new line, available at participating stores, includes products from Annie's Snacks, KIND Bars and Stretch Island Fruit Company, among others.

On the beverage side, Starbucks is expanding its Tazo full-leaf tea selections with a vanilla rooibos flavor. The chain also will spotlight its Skinny Cinnamon Dulce Latte and Skinny Vanilla Latte, which contain 90 calories each for a "tall" 12-ounce size.

Starbucks, which has more than 16,000 locations worldwide, made other nutrition-focused moves last year, when it introduced bakery items that were free of artificial flavors, colors, and high-fructose corn syrup.

Contact Molly Gise at [email protected].

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