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5 Turkish food & drink trends to watch in 2017

Another year brings a fresh set of trends, market challenges and opportunities in Turkey’s food industry. Despite political upheaval, and Russia’s import ban on Turkish produce, the nation still imported over $5 billion worth of food and drink products – making it an ideal export destination.

Turkey’s position as a top food and beverage export location looks secure in 2017. ITE Food & Drink has identified the top trends, popular products and other news you need to know about the Turkish food industry across the next twelve months. Do not miss out on Turkey’s potential in 2017 by reading closely. 

Turkish coffee consumption kicks up a storm

Turkish coffee is renowned worldwide for its taste and quality. Now, back home, Turkey’s population is quaffing larger volumes of the popular drink. Over 2015-2016, Turks consumed an average of 920 grams per person.

While this does not place Turkey as one of the titans of coffee drinking nations (Finland, surprisingly, is top dog with the nation devouring 9.6 kilograms per capita annually), it shows growing opportunities for specialist exporters. Turkey’s 2015-2016 coffee drinking stats are almost double 2013-2014’s levels (595 grams per person).

At present, Turkey’s coffee sector is worth over $162 million. This might seem small, especially for a coffee-growing country, but with the market growing 15% year-on-year, the fundamentals should be enough to excite exporters.

Baking dominated by artisanal breads

For many Western nations, the site of supermarket shelves laden with row after row of pre-packaged bread products is extremely familiar. Turkey does things a little differently. Artisanal, unpackaged bread, made fresh from local bakeries, dominates the market – accounting for a massive 97% of total baked good volume sales. 

Despite this unique supply system, Turks still enjoy bread as a regular dietary feature, consuming around 21.3 kilograms per capita annually. Interestingly, Turkey is in the midst of a bread-wastage epidemic. To combat this, the government has recommended a lowered average loaf size of 250 grams (down from 300g.) 

In the face of such unfortunate consumer habits, artisanal and specialised bread varieties will remain a staple part of Turkish diets from 2017 onwards. Ideal for suppliers of both baked goods and ingredients – especially as baking in Turkey takes a more bespoke direction. 

Turkish food industry shaped by halal products

In a nation where 98% of the population identifies as Muslim, you would expect Turkey to be an almost captive market for halal food and drink products. And you would be correct. Worth $168 billion, and rising, halal food and drink is a major part of Turkey’s food sector mix. 

The hot trend for the past couple of years has been pre-packaged, frozen or readymade halal offerings. Turkey’s population is living increasingly active, fast-paced lifestyles and gender roles are changing too; plenty of women now have careers, leaving less time for meal preparation.  As such, ready-to-eat options are increasingly gaining prominence in Turkey’s halal sector. 

Exporters, here is your opportunity to explore halal food in Turkey. Despite being a founder member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Turkey’s supplies of halal meat are sourced from overseas. The EU ships over 10,000 tons of beef, for example, to Turkey each year showing you do not have to be Muslim to supply quality halal produce to markets that needs it. 

Seafood swims towards prominence

Despite annual consumption coming in at 6.5kg per person each year, Turkey has been identified as a potential export market for seafood. An expanded section of Turkish citizens is increasingly health conscious. As they turn away from fattier offerings, such as a beef and lamb, seafood is being positioned as a healthy alternative.

Much of Turkey’s burgeoning seafood production centres output is shipped overseas too. Despite aiming to double production levels to 500,000 tons by 2023, this leaves a massive fish-shaped hole in the domestic market for international suppliers to fill.

Anchovies account for 10% of Turkish fish demand. Norwegian research body Nofima has identified mackerel, salmon and pollock as top export products, suggesting a diversified approach is best when it comes to securing seafood success in Turkey. 

Organic: the Turkish food industry’s secret sector

As mentioned briefly above, Turks are increasingly wary of processed foodstuffs, preferring instead to seek out healthier options. Organic food and drink, flying under the radar at present, is one of the Turkish food industry’s quietly growing sectors – one ripe for export expansion. 

A current market valuation of $97.9 million belies the impressive growth Turkey’s organic sector is experiencing. By 2020, the market will have grown at a CAGR of 12.9%, pushing its value to above $170 million. This low base provides a brilliant platform for foreign companies to exploit, but what should they be shipping to Turkey?

According to a United States Department of Agriculture report, top organic products include dairy offerings, such as cheeses and milk, alongside oils and fats. These two product areas are integral to traditional Turkish cuisines, thus are becoming regular fixtures in Turkish kitchens nationwide.

Experience the Turkish food industry at WorldFood Istanbul 2017

These are just a handful of the trends hitting Turkey’s food and beverage sector in 2017. To get the real scoop, and to position your products for a captive audience of Turkish buyers, retailers, manufacturers and more, head to WorldFood Istanbul 2017

Held between 7-10 September 2017 at the TUYAP Fair and Exhibition Centre, WorldFood Istanbul is Turkey’s leading food and drink trade show. Join over 400 exhibitors and over 13,000 visitors at this year’s show and make real headway into Turkey’s massive food industry.


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