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Turkey is your next food & drink market – here’s why

A natural bridge between Europe and Asia; a major global economy; a rapidly expanding population; all advantages Turkey possesses for exporters. For food and drink professionals, the pros keep on coming.

Food and drink runs through the veins Turkey’s economy, representing nearly 20% of the nation’s GDP – roughly $141 billion dollars. Imports of foodstuffs comes to around $5 billion a year annually too.

There are big bucks being spent on imported goods in Turkey. What’s more, societal shifts and demographic shakeups are creating a more diversified market entry climate for international businesses.

Here are five big reasons why Turkey is your next food and drink market.

5 reasons to make Turkey your food and drink market

Turkish food retail sales rising annually

For the past decade, retail sales of food and drink items have been growing at a steady 8% year-on-year in Turkey. In fact, food sales cover 62% of Turk’s entire retail spending. Sales top out at around $140 billion a year.

Fuelling this continued rise and rise is a shakeup in Turkey’s supermarket sector. Western store models and layouts, i.e. hyper/supermarkets and discount stores, are replacing traditional bazars and markets.
With busier lifestyles and more spending power, Turks are finding the convenience and product variety of large-scale retail outlets a top draw.

Imported products continue to enjoy popularity

As mentioned above, $5 billion worth of food and beverage products are imported by Turkish buyers each year. Structurally, imports are based around ingredients, product groups with no local and foreign delicacies, with varieties shifting to match the changing lifestyle habits amongst young Turks.

For example, Turkish production of cocoa is negligible, so it relies on imports to fuel the chocolate sector of its $3.1 billion confectionery industry. Likewise, speciality cheeses, such as French camembert and Dutch edam, are top dairy imports, with 11,000 tons imported from the EU in 2016 alone.

Imports will continue to feature heavily on Turkish food inventories going forward – making Turkey a key market for international food and drink manufacturers well into the next decade.

Food service: a growing market with lots of entry points

Food service and fast food is entering a new era of prominence throughout Turkey – which opens the door for suppliers of ingredients and speciality foods and drinks. the nation’s 150,000 hotels, cafés and eateries are crying out for secure suppliers.

6% of revenues generated by Turkey’s food industry comes from the food service sector, giving it a valuation somewhere in the region of $8.4 billion. The of the sector, i.e. showcasing international cuisines, it relies on international exporters when securing top quality goods.

For example, in hotels, particularly in tourist heavy areas like Istanbul, imported whiskeys are big customer favourites and a hot product for Turkish buyers – demonstrating the types of market entry avenues available for foreign firms.

Turkey’s food processing industry needs ingredients

Remember how we mentioned how food service sector members are on the hunt for quality ingredients? Much the same could be said for Turkey’s colossal food processing industry.

Turkey is the largest food manufacturer in the Middle East and the 7th largest worldwide. There are over 41,000 registered food and drink producers across the country – reliant on a steady supply of ingredients to meet their output targets.

As much as $3 billion out of Turkey’s total $5 billion worth food imports is spent on raw ingredients. Of course, some sectors rely on imports more than others. Food additives, a $980 million market in Turkey, rely on imports to cover 85% of market demand.

Ingredients are a golden gateway for exporters in Turkey, as producers appetite is voracious.

Access to more than just the Turkish market

Turkey’s geography makes it an ideal export hub for producers looking to break into the greater Middle East/North Africa market, and even further afield.
Turkey connects east and west. It has long been a melting pot of different cultures, tastes, and cuisines. Thanks to impressive country-wide infrastructure, tied to international transport corridors, goods can be sent from Turkey across Eurasia to the Far East, Russia, and Africa.

If you’re looking for a base of operations to expand across the Eurasia region, then Turkey is the ideal country.

Meet the Turkish food industry at WorldFood Istanbul

To break into Turkey’s food and drink industry, you need to meet the buyers, importers, and distributors who really matter. WorldFood Istanbul lets you do this at one event in one location.

As Turkey’s leading food and drink exhibition, WorldFood Istanbul attracts the major players of the Turkish food industry, including HRI sector members. 

Over 13,000 visitors from Turkey, the Middle East, Europe, and beyond, attended each show – all looking to find the very best partners and products to expand their operations.

Interested in taking part? Contact our team today.

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