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5 more imported products wowing Turkey’s food & drink sector

Turkey, with its 79 million population and $850 billion economy, is a major food market – especially for imports. Annual imports of foodstuffs total around $5 billion. 

Apart from the traditional mixture of meat, fruits, and vegetables, Turkey’s food and drink imports are diversifying. For international companies, that means more chances to get your goods on Turkish supermarket shelves.
Young Turks are living increasingly busy, internationally-minded lifestyles. Palettes are expanding and new tastes are proving very popular amongst Turkey’s young, expanding population. 

We’ve had a look at five products winning big on the Turkish import market before. Let’s take a look at a further five finding favour with Turkish importers, retailers, and buyers nationwide.

Non-alcoholic drinks

The market for non-alcoholic beverages in Turkey is split along the usual lines: fruit juices, sodas, and mineral waters. But a new trend is emerging throughout the nation. Turks are increasingly turning towards products perceived as giving their health a big boost.

In the non-alcoholic drinks sector, a big, health-drink shaped hole has emerged. Domestic producers are currently not capitalising on Turk’s healthier habits. Drinks that claim to aid with digestive health, brain and memory, bone and joint, and cardiovascular health, represent big export potential for foreign brands.
“Beauty from within” products, such as aloe vera-based beverages that promote healthy skin and hair, are in demand too. Far-Eastern companies are already starting to ship greater volumes of aloe vera drinks, for instance, cashing in on Turkey’s turn towards health and wellbeing as major buying drivers.

Wine & Beer

Wine, beer, and alcoholic drinks in general, are in a tricky position in Turkey. Advertising, marketing, and selling, of alcohol is carefully controlled. Crucially, however, imports of wines and beers appear to be on the rise. Demand in the market is there – it’s just a little hidden. 

A quick glance at historical data shows the growing popularity of alcoholic drinks. In 2009, for example, collective beer and wine imports totalled 1.3 million litres. Fast forward to 2014 and this had risen to 7.2 million litres, according to data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Consumers are quickly becoming more knowledgeable about foreign labels and vintages. French and Californian wines are becoming the go-to varieties for Turkish wine drinkers. Likewise, the beer segment, which is currently dominated by local brand Efes and its 82% market share, is seeing Belgian and German beers make headway into the market. 

IPAs, stouts, and other beer types, are seeing demand rise too. Domestic brands predominantly produced only lagers in the past, but Turks are keen to expand their taste horizons instead of being tied into a single variety.


Whiskey is by far and away the most popular spirit in Turkey. Much like beer and wine, import volumes have steadily climbed in recent years too. A USDA report reveals that from 2009 to 2014 imports more than doubled from 2.5 million litres to 6.9 million – not far behind the combined beer/wine total.

Blended scotches and bourbons are the top whiskey varieties enjoyed by Turks.

But, due to Turkey’s strict laws governing the promotion and sales of alcohol, exporters are having to get creative when marketing their goods to Turkish consumers. Jim Bean and Jack Daniels, for instance, are targeting the younger generation at events like rock concerts, festivals, and with motorsport sponsorship deals.

Functional foods

Another product group rising high on Turkey’s import market is functional foods (and drinks too). Functional foods are defined as those that have functional properties, i.e. probiotics, fibres, added energy, and so on. 

These remain a relatively untapped niche in Turkey. Food supplements and sports drinks also hold a lot of export potential too, as they are comparably new products. Domestic production, as such, is slim-to-nil. 

Diabetes is, unfortunately, an increasing problem amidst Turkey’s population. Foods and drinks that actively fight the effects of diabetes are seeing demand increase annually.

Speciality cheeses

Turkey imports a lot of cheese. According to European dairy authority Eucolait, Turkey imported over $25 million worth of cheese and related goods in 2016 from the EU alone, with total volumes in excess of 11,000 tons. 

Cheese is an indispensable part of traditional Turkish breakfasts, although breakfast cheeses tend to be typically lighter varieties such as feta and other goats cheeses. Still, a Turk’s breakfast is not complete without cheese, which is seen as having many major health and wellbeing benefits amidst Turkish consumers.

While Turkey is a major dairy producer in its own right, it does import a wealth of cheeses not produced domestically. That opens up an avenue for international exporters to make a mark on Turkey’s import market.

Discover Turkey’s food import market at WorldFood Istanbul

For exporters, the Turkish import market holds billions of dollars’ worth of opportunity. To get a slice of this market, you need to connect with Turkey’s biggest food and drink buyers. 

There is only one place to do this: WorldFood Istanbul.

WorldFood Istanbul is the largest and the most successful food and food processing exhibition in Turkey. Each year, it attracts over 13,000 professional visitors each year, all searching to find new suppliers, products, and business partners.

The event is the perfect platform to get your products in front of a dedicated audience of food and drink professionals, including distributors, retail representatives and HORECA sector members.

If you are interested in exhibiting at WorldFood Istanbul, or want to discuss more ways you and your business can take part, please contact us today to learn more.


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