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Examining the Turkish food processing industry

Turkey and food processing have a robust relationship. As food and beverage producer, it is the Middle East’s largest and the 7th largest worldwide. From fruits and vegetables through to flours, and confectionery, Turkey makes the lot.

Given its economic importance, Turkey’s food production sector is huge – and holds plenty of scope for foreign manufacturers, ingredients suppliers and machinery producers to boost their revenues.

Breaking down Turkey’s food processing sector

The food and beverage sector covers roughly 19.7% of Turkey’s $718.2 billion GDP, according to a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) report, giving it a market valuation in the region of $141.4 billion. Big business to be sure. Turkish food and drink exports total around $15 billion annually, so you can image the economic importance of the production industry.

Data from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations reveals Turkey as a world leader in the production and processing of hazelnuts, apricots, figs, cherries, sour cherries, quinces, raisins, and poppy seeds. Emerging sectors include frozen and canned goods, olive and vegetable oil, seafood and alcoholic beverages.

There are over 41,000 registered producers operating in the country, according to the Turkish Federation of Food Beverage and Industry Associations. Roughly 95% are small or medium enterprises (SMEs). 

For individual sub-sector splits, check out the graphic below:

Turkish food processing industry sub-sector composition
The top 5% of domestic food producers are able to directly source their ingredients straight from the manufacturer and are generally direct importers. The remaining SMEs work with wholesalers or distributors when it comes to sourcing their products.

Ingredient imports vital for Turkish food & drink production 

Despite enjoying a well-established food production sector, Turkey is reliant on imports of ingredients to fuel its manufacturing efforts. Over $5 billion worth of food and beverage items are imported by Turkey each year, with raw food materials making up a considerable chunk of this – in the realm of $3 billion according to the Harvard Atlas of Economic Complexity.

Take cocoa and chocolate. Despite half of Turkey’s confectionery manufacturers producing chocolate treats, there is no local production of cocoa. It’s now of one of Turkey’s hottest import products as candy creators have to rely solely on internationally-sourced cocoa products.

Food additives are also products with huge import potential in Turkey. There are over 250 additive producing companies operating across the country, in a sub-sector worth $980 million, yet just 15% of in-demand additives are produced domestically. The remaining 85%, which includes items like calcium carbonate, citric acid, bovine gelatines, aromas and colourings, are imported.

For foreign ingredients specialists, Turkey’s food processing industry is something of a captive market – one that contains millions in potential revenue.

Foreign food & drink firms operating in Turkey

Turkey is a natural land bridge between Europe and Asia, with an expansive work force and young, busy population. As such, several multi-national food and drink companies use the nation as both a manufacturing and a regional export hub. More than $3.5 billion worth of foreign direct investment inflows hit the sector during the period 2009-2013.
Checking out the major firms working in Turkey is a who’s who of international corporations. Coca-Cola, Unilever, Cargill, Nestlé, Cadbury Schweppes, and Carlsberg, alongside many more companies, all have factories, breweries, or production sites, in the country. There are over 500 foreign capital manufactures operating in the Turkish food and beverage industry, showing the appeal of the nation as a food production base.

Industry expansion heralds opportunities for food processing equipment manufacturers

In 2012, there were just over 40,000 food and beverage companies in Turkey. Now, that number, as mentioned earlier, exceeds 41,000. This impressive growth rate points towards a greater number of market-entry avenues for international food processing equipment producers.

Sales of such machinery have increased since 2012. During that year, sales totalled $355.3 million. By 2015, revenues generated by sales of food production equipment rose to $431.8 million. This impressive growth signposts a great market to enter for foreign machinery manufacturers.

Connect with the Turkish food processing industry at WorldFood Istanbul 2017

Whether you are an ingredients producer, foreign manufacturer looking for an international production site, or a manufacturer of processing equipment, Turkey holds amazing promise for you. To connect with the Turkish food processing figures who matter most, you need to be at WorldFood Istanbul 2017.

The event brings together the great and the good of Turkey’s food and drink sector in one place at a time when they are actively looking to source new products. This is your chance to get face-to-face contact with key Turkish businesspeople, including importers, food and drink producers, and distributors, in an environment designed to promote business.

You can find more information on WorldBuild Istanbul here. Alternatively, get in touch with us today to discuss how you can take part.


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