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Going green: Turkey’s organic food sector in focus

Turkish lifestyles are changing. Young Turks are busier, more active and, seemingly, more health conscious than ever before. A shake-up in consumption habits is sweeping the nation – not least in the organic food sector.

Turkey holds great potential for organic food

At present, awareness of organic produce and consumption is a little low. Many Turkish consumers feel greener, health-orientated products are something of a luxury item. Those who do eat and drink organic offerings tend be higher educated, live in urban areas and enjoy higher income levels.

While this purchaser profile could prove off-putting for exporters, it actually reflects Turkish societal trends. Turkey’s middle class has risen to be around 41% of the population since the mid-90s. With a GDP per capita of over $11,000, Turkey is a whisker away from achieving OECD High Income status. Additionally, Turks are increasingly turning towards healthy foods.

While there is some way to go before Turkey’s entire population is clued up on the benefits of organic food and drink, sales are starting to grow – mainly in the pre-packaged sector. Sales of health foods grew 24% from 2013 to 2014. They grew again the following year too, exhibiting growth of more than 50% according to a USDA report. 

As of 2015, the market for packaged organic food and drink in Turkey is valued at $90 million. By 2020, it is expected to reach over $170 million (a compound annual growth rate of 12.9%). With growth remaining both healthy and steady, Turkey’s potential for organic foods is becoming clearer each year.

The in-demand organic food and drink products in Turkey

Interestingly, Turkey is actually a major regional producer of organic produce, mostly fruits and vegetables, with exports totalling close to $100 million annually. However, imports are beginning to creep into the market mix.

In terms of sales, there are a few distinct product categories holding big chunks of Turkey’s overall organic food and beverage sector makeup. The top three sectors with the largest market share are:

• Dairy (including cheese) – 21.8%
• Baby food – 14.8%
• Sweet and savoury snacks – 13.6%

Other major product groups include oils and fats, organic spreads (such as olive oil based alternatives to butter), and bakery products. The USDA notes that cheese and oils are in particular central to Turkish cuisine. Exporters are likely to enjoy greater success with these products, when planning to access Turkey’s burgeoning organic food market.

Most organic food is to be found at hyper/supermarkets. This particular format, inspired by the success of Western mass-grocery retailers, is experiencing growth in Turkey, and accounts for over 80% of organic sales. After data analysis, going off sales shares, dedicated organic outlets only account for around 5% of sales – although this is to be expected, due to the resources and market presence of Turkey’s supermarket retailers.

Show off your organic products at WorldFood Istanbul 2017

Ready to tap into Turkey’s budding organic food sector? Exhibit at WorldFood Istanbul 2017. 2016’s event attracted over 15,000 Turkish and international visitors from over 22 countries. 2017 promises more of the same. Retail representatives, buyers from HoReCa organisations, distributors, importers and more head to the show annually with one thing in common: all of them want to snap up the very best in innovative, quality food products.

WorldFood Istanbul takes place between 7-10 September 2017 at the TUYAP Fair and Exhibition Centre. Make sure you book your stand now to secure a prime location and give your products the perfect platform for Turkish expansion. Get in touch with us now to secure your space or to learn more about the show.


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