7 food & drink export prospects in Turkey

Turkey’s a competitive food and drink import market – especially given the quality of foodstuffs produced locally. But there are many product groups where either demand exceeds production, or imports are the only source of the most desired items.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at seven products proving extremely popular amongst Turkish buyers. We see an increased need for these goods at the international WorldFood Istanbul food and drink exhibition – so read on to find your potential best market entry prospects.

7 food & drink products with huge potential on the Turkish import market

Walnuts & Almonds
Despite being the third largest nut producer in the world, Turkey imports heavy volumes of walnuts and almonds annually. Together, these represent over 75,000 tons in imports a year. 55% of walnuts consumed in Turkey are imported, for instance.
Demand may increase following a tariff cut enacted at the start of 2018. The previous 43% import duty has been slashed by nearly two thirds to 15% - a big boon for exporters worldwide.
Turkey is a massive confectionery manufacturer, yet it still looks overseas to satiate internal demand for its citizen’s favourite candy. Chocolate is Turks’ preferred sweet treat and their largest individual candy import product by value. 
Of Turkey’s $130.9m confectionery imports in 2017, chocolate’s contribution was valued at $92.6m – some 70% of the grand total. 
For more information on the potential of chocolate exports to Turkey, please see this handy infographic.
Confectionery sunflower seeds
From the sugary to the natural now, as we look at another confectionery item that is proving popular amongst Turkish consumers. Sunflower seeds, particularly Dakota seeds from the US, and Chinese and Bulgarian varieties, are seen as high-quality products by importers and wholesalers – and are proving competitive against home-grown varieties.
Dates play an important cultural role in Turkey, often as a part of religious rites during festivals like Ramadan. However, dates are rarely if ever grown in Turkey. Instead, exporters from Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia are the main source markets for Turkey’s date purchases.
Cranberries, blueberries & other fruits not grown in Turkey
Turkey is blessed with one of the world’s finest agricultural sectors, millions of hectares of arable land, and a cornucopia of fruits and vegetables it can grow its nutrient-rich soil. But it can’t grow everything.
As such, fruit varieties like cranberries and blueberries are seeing their import volumes grow off the back of a more health-conscious population. Dried cranberries are a recent market entry, but such fruits and berries are also being imported in frozen form too.
Turkey’s food industry is a bit of a behemoth, mercilessly gobbling up ingredients at a terrific pace. Spices are one of these. It’s true, Turkey does have a thriving domestic spice production industry – but, like so many other product groups, it isn’t enough to suite certain tastes or meals.
In the high-end segment in particular, spices such as cayenne pepper, black pepper, crushed red chilis, and other niche varieties are enjoying a popularity spike right now. Foreign made goods have plenty of potential in the premium-to-luxury sector especially.
Functional foods
Functional foods are those that “give a little extra”; those foodstuffs that offer more than just their basic taste and energy properties on offer. Think gluten-free, vitamin-enriched, and diet/slimming foodstuffs. Right now, such products are fulfilling Turkey’s national healthy eating trend.
More and more Turks are paying closer attention to what they eat. It’s a trend that started with the wealthy members of Turkish society, but is trickling down to appeal to the average man-on-the-street. Functional food & drink is kicking off in Turkey. Now is the time to take advantage of this trend.

Discover the buyers who want these goods at WorldFood Istanbul: Turkey’s leading food & drink exhibition

Now you know what is in demand in Turkey, it’s time to find the importers, wholesalers, retailers and other food professionals after such products. Do that at the biggest and best international food and drink trade show in Turkey: WorldFood Istanbul.
Worldfood Istanbul is visited by over 18,000 industry professionals every year. It’s the only place in Turkey to get your products seen by the Turkish buyers who matter most, reach a new sales geography, and grow your sales in Turkey and beyond.
Reserve a stand here.