Case study: Turkey/Ecuador food trade

South American foodstuffs and cuisines are firmly rooting themselves into the Turkish market – a trend we see at everything WorldFood Istanbul international food and drink exhibition. And so Ecuador is an ideal place to become an important cog in Turkey’s food import machine.

Over the past few years Turkey has made the switch from net exporter to one of the region’s leading importers. Ecuadorian produce is being bought by Turks in larger quantities, but still lags behind Brazil and Argentina in terms of exports.
Even so, Turkey holds plenty of potential for Ecuadorian food, which we’ll explore below. 

Ecuador: A key regional food and drink supplier

Located on South America’s North-western tip is Ecuador, a nation of just 16 million people. Its small size belies its mighty weight – at least when it comes to agriculture and food production.

Ecuador is more than capable of holding its own. In fact, it leads the world in some key sectors.
While its neighbours may specialise in meat and grain exports, none of them can touch Ecuador when it comes to fruit. Specifically, bananas. 
Ecuador is the world’s number one banana exporter – and by some margin. For context, the nation’s worldwide banana shipments held a value of $3.71 billion in 2016. That’s roughly 20% of Ecuador’s total exports, and also a quarter of worldwide supplies.
Annually, Ecuador exports between 300-315 million boxes of bananas to foreign climes.
Bananas are not the only string to Ecuador’s agricultural bow. It also enjoys a strong position on global seafood markets. The Pacific Ocean laps Ecuador’s shores, giving its fishing companies a huge watery larder to explore and draw from.
Shrimp is Ecuador’s forte, with its exports totalling over $2 billion annually. The US especially is enamoured with Ecuador’s crustacean catch, gobbling up half of all available volumes each year. 
Ecuador is also the world’s second largest producer of prepared and preserved Tuna, and its catch covers 4% of worldwide totals.
Cocoa beans are another large Ecuadorian export commodity – and the third largest food export commodity behind bananas and seafood. Each year, the nation exports around $658 million worth of this important ingredient. 

Ecuador’s food & drink exports to Turkey are low but have strong growth potential

While its volumes are low compared with some of the big export hitters to Turkey, Ecuador is still well represented in the top ten foodstuff exporting nations. It ranks as number eight, behind France but ahead of the UK, but definitely has potential to reach a higher table position.
In terms of monetary value, Ecuador’s exports are close to $90 million a year – or 90% of its overall one-way trade with Turkey.
Can you guess which was the biggest product? That’s right – bananas. In fact, banana shipments are so massive that they cover 85% of Ecuador’s full exports, and close to 100% of its food supplies to Turkey.
With so much of the food trade being purely fruit, it seems that Turks have actually missed the quality and availability of Ecuadorian seafood.
Norwegian firms have identified Turkey as the next big seafood market to watch. The Turkish seafood industry is worth a stunning $1.04 billion with imports covering a 25% chunk of overall market value. 
More importantly, Turkish seafood consumption and imports have been growing side-by-side over the last couple of years. Between 2016-2017, imports rose 27.2%, while consumption rose an at exciting 33.3% too.
Skipjack tuna, readily found in warm Pacific waters, is amongst Turks’ preferred seafood species – so Turkey is most definitely worth a punt for Ecuadorian seafood companies.
Cocoa beans are also a firm market entry point. As we’ve mentioned many times, Turkey lacks any real domestic cocoa production. Despite the fact it’s a major confectionery producer, a market leader in fact, Turkey relies solely on overseas companies for its cocoa bean and powder supplies. As such, it is a market segment already in thrall to exporters.
While these are just some ways to market, they do not tell the entire story. Turkey’s food and drink import industry is a rich tapestry, full of many different routes to market, buyer desires, and products in demand in the nation’s wealthy, young population.
WorldFood Istanbul, the biggest and best food and drink trade show in Turkey, is the place to find those market opportunities.

Ecuadorian companies: Join us at the international WorldFood Istanbul food & drink exhibition

Worldfood Istanbul is visited by over 18,000 industry professionals every year, including retailers, wholesalers, HoReCa sector representatives, and many more key players.
It is the ideal place 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.
They all attend the show to find the latest products from international producers – so be there to secure your own share of Turkey’s $5 billion import market. 
Reserve a stand here.
Alternatively, if you require further information on how WorldFood Istanbul can help you grow your business, contact our team today.