Spain’s Cuetara plans to expand in the fast-growing functional-cookie market in an effort to boost slumping sales, product manager Victor Rodriguez revealed to just-food. “We are going to invest a lot in research and advertising to launch new fibre cookies,” he said.
Cuetara is the cookie division of food giant Sos Cuetara. In recent months, the company has been stocking supermarkets with its fibre-enriched wheat cookies including its Fibra Due, F Plus and Fibra Integral line, which are L-Carnitine and Omega3-fortified.

Cuetara reported a 6% fall to EUR16m (US$19.62) in gross operating profits for the first nine months of 2005 but it hopes the functional-cookie blitz will help it turn around its fortunes.

Rodriguez said Cuetara’s future launches will focus on the high-fibre wheat segment, targeting both children and adults.

The company’s nutraceuticals expansion is on the money, analysts said.“The strategy is in line with the market’s growth trends and should help the company boost its EBITDA by 3% to EUR24m in 2006, Ibersecurities broker analyst Antonio Castell said.

To grow its franchise in Spain and abroad, Cuetara is considering investing EUR27m to build a cookie factory in Agafay, Morocco, which would produce 25,000 tonnes per year. The project would enable Cuetara to export duty free to the key US market.

Cuetara recently expanded its Cordoba, Mexico factory (which supplies Latin America) to churn out 20,000 tonnes of cookies in the first half of this year, up from 15,500 currently. The company plans to grow organically and through acquisitions, Rodriguez said.

Apart from Spain, Cuetara is present in Mexico, Europe and the Middle East.