Case study: Turkey/Argentina food trade

Like many international food and drink suppliers, Argentina holds a global presence – and plenty of potential when it comes to exporting to the Turkish market.

Although total trade between Turkey and Argentina is comparatively low, that only means there is room to grow. In fact, the pair signed a cooperation agreement in 2017, so enhanced trade volumes are coming.
Let’s delve a little deeper into the makeup of Argentina’s food exports – and how the country’s food and drink manufacturers can find great market opportunities in Turkey.

Argentina is one of South America’s top food & drink exporters

In 2017, Argentina’s worldwide food exports came to an impressive $24.7 billion. This puts it roughly on par with countries like India in terms of export volumes. Argentina is subsequently a top supplier of in-demand produce, including meat, fruits and vegetables, and tea and coffee.
By category, Argentina’s biggest export groups are:
• Cereals (incl. maize, wheat & rice) - $6.93bl 
• Animal & vegetable oils - $4.8bl
• Fish & seafood (incl. shrimp, hoki, king crab & Patagonia toothfish) - $1.9bl
• Meat & offal (incl. beef) - $1.8bl
• Fruits (incl. lemons, pears, apples & blueberries) - $915.2m
• Soft drinks, alcoholic beverages & vinegar (incl. wine) - $912.6bl
• Vegetables (incl. onions & garlic) - $732.9m

Turkey only a small importer of Argentinian food – so far

Turkey is not currently a large importer of Argentinian food, and what agricultural products it does import in bulk are more related to animal feed than human consumption. Turkey’s total Argentinian imports in 2016 came to $486m, according to the MIT Atlas of Economic Complexity trade database.
Soya-bean oil cake, and other solid residues, primarily used to make food for farm animals, covers 57% of Turkey’s whole imports from Argentina.
Moving away from animal feeds to products fit for human consumption, Turkey is enthralled by Argentinian legumes. It imported $69.6m worth in 2016 – almost double 2015’s imports of $34.8m.
Turkish buyers wanted Kidney beans, white pea beans, chickpeas – and a whole host of other beans – from Argentina during 2016.
Argentina is famous for its beef – a rival for Brazil in the global supply network – but Turkish importers are not particularly interested in Argentinian beef or even seafood.
Even so, Argentinian producers should not turn away from the Turkish market. Instead, they should look to embrace it – as there is lots of potential for large export volumes from the right companies.

Tea & coffee, fish & seafood & ingredients are Turkish market entry points

The Turkish market holds plenty of promise for the bulk of the world’s food manufacturers, but is really enticing in some key import categories.
Tea and coffee is probably the biggest. Turkey and tea are inseparable, and the nation is Europe’s biggest tea drinkers. Turkey annually consumes over 260,000 tons of tea a year – that’s the equivalent of each Turk drinking 1,000 cups of tea a year.
Big chains like Starbucks and Costa Coffee are also helping fuel coffee consumption across Turkey. In the nation’s largest city, Istanbul, a coffee festival is held every year, and this influence is spreading to more of Turkey’s metropolises.
As such, Argentinian tea exporters can find a very big market for their $180.4m annual exports in Turkey.
Away from there, Turkey could potentially buy around 7% of Argentina’s annual seafood exports, according to data from MIT. In 2016, for example, Turkish wholesalers bought fish and seafood, including mackerel, worth $142.3m from around the world. Such figures should encourage Argentinian seafood specialists to seek out the Turkish market.
Elsewhere, we find that ingredients are in high demand in Turkey in order to fuel its monolithic food and drink manufacturing industry. Foodstuff production accounts for 20% of Turkey’s total GDP – so you can imagine the volumes of ingredients needed to keep such a beast fed.
One area in particular where Argentinian companies can thrive is in cocoa supplies for the extensive Turkish confectionery sector. There is no domestic production of cocoa throughout Turkey, so the nation is reliant on imports to supply the sector. And as Argentina’s cocoa and cocoa powder’s exports grew 11.3% between 2016 & 2017, it’s easy to see where surpluses could be sent.

Argentinian producers: find Turkish food & drink buyers at WorldFood Istanbul

Argentina has much to offer Turkish food & drink importers. You can find them at WorldFood Istanbul.
The event is Turkey’s leading food and drink event, making it the ideal place to meet thousands of Turkish professionals, including retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers and other key buyers. 
They all attend the show to find the latest products from international producers – so be there to grab your slice of Turkey’s $5 billion import market.