Cookie war: Gullón’s wayward son competes with his family

Cookie war: Gullón’s wayward son competes with his family

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Cookie war: Gullón’s wayward son competes with his family

Félix Gullón, creator of Family Biscuits.

Félix Gullón Rodríguez, the youngest male brother of a family that gives the surname to one of the great Spanish cookie groups, has been identified as the wayward in this saga after starting his path alone. “It is true that there were differences with the current managers of Gullón, the project no longer excited me and that is why I decided to take a step aside and undertake new challenges,” says this businessman, who since 2003 has passed through the main management positions of Gullón , from sales manager to general manager or head of international development of the company of which he continues to be a shareholder, his last position.

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Last February it took over the Cerealto Siro factory in Jaén and created Family Biscuits, which maintains the biscuit business as its axis. Its aspiration is to place itself in the leading group of the sector in the coming years, with a production capacity of 30 million kilos. For now, he estimates that it will close its first year with a production of between 18 and 20 million kilos, and a turnover of more than 20 million euros. Since February they have already been able to develop a dozen new references under the Family Biscuits brand, which they will raise to 20 before the end of this year. The goal is for its own brands to represent 50% of production in the first half of 2022.

“We want to revolutionize the cookie market, and we want to do so from sustainability and with natural ingredients from the areas where we are located”, indicates Gullón, who last June presented its star product to the market: María del Sur, the first cookie manufactured with 12% extra virgin olive oil, sweetened with honey, cinnamon, apple fiber and matalahúva. It completes the catalog consisting of traditional cookies, the Petit range and the NaturFun oatmeal cookies, made with a clean label, sustainability and zero kilometer.

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In this half year at the head of the company he has implemented a commercial structure with the best national and international distributors, such as Bandama in the Canary Islands, Biscuits Galicia in Galicia, Productos Blanco in Asturias, Productos Cartujano in Andalusia or Pascoma in Madrid, Reverte in Alicante, Comercial A. Puchol in Valencia, among others. “Through them we want the Family Biscuits cookies to reach all national supermarkets,” he says. Today, 50% of the production goes to the national market and the other half is dedicated to export, especially in North Africa, Europe and the Caribbean. His goal here is that in three years 50% of the business comes through this channel.

However, now the bulk of the production corresponds to the inheritance left by the old Siro biscuit maker. The factory purchase agreement provides for Family Biscuits 15 million kilos of private label biscuit production, a figure that will be cut in half next year. That is why now the strategy of the group led by Félix Gullón is to accelerate the presence of its own brands on the shelves.

With the pandemic, eating habits have changed: “Consumption has grown more in homes and has decreased in the hotel industry, but the cookie market is constantly evolving, as customers increasingly demand more natural products” . With 140 workers in the Jaen factory, Gullón will launch an investment plan of more than 500,000 euros to modernize the facilities.