German food & drink’s powerful potential in Turkey

Since Turkish workers were emigrated to Germany to help post-war rebuilding efforts, the pair have been close. It’s true, relations have wobbled in recent years, but how has this affected the food trade? Fairly negatively is the answer.

Much like many of its partners in the EU, Germany is a producer of many products that will find favour with Turkish buyers.
International food and drink trade exhibition WorldFood Istanbul regularly hosts a wide range of German brands – so let’s see what they typically promote at the event.

Germany is Turkey’s biggest EU trade partner

Germany is by far Turkey’s closest partner, when it comes to trade, in the EU. Indeed, the Germans also rank as Turks’ second biggest trading partner in the world, second to only China.
Bilateral trade between the pair came to $35.4 billion in 2016, according to data from the Republic of Turkey. Where does food and drink fit into this? Somewhere in the region of just 2% of all trading activity.

Germany’s small Turkish food & drink exports have great room to grow

That 2% figure might look small, but do not be disheartened. Data from the MIT Atlas of Economic Complexity, an online trade database, suggests Turkey still spends comfortably when it comes to importing German foodstuffs.
MIT Atlas data shows Germany’s food and drink exports to Turkey totalled $625.4m in 2016. It also appears that Turks are increasing the volume of foodstuffs they buy from German producers.
Between 2015 and 2016, imports rose an impressive 37.8%.
Turks’ purchases represent a wealth of raw ingredients, finished products, and staple foods – all items very much in demand throughout Turkey right now.
Of this grand total – still over half a billion dollars, remember – these are the top five highest-value German export commodities:
• Chocolate - $61.6m
• Wheat - $60.4m
• Malt extract - $37m
• Hard liquor - $33.8m
• Flavoured & mineral waters = $16m
Germany’s trade activities mirror its cousins in Switzerland and Austria, with similar products being bought from the DACH nations by Turkish importers. There is one crucial difference – the volumes involved are much larger.
There are of course many different sectors Turks are interested in. Meat is one of them. Although import values are relatively low – as Turkey’s domestic meat production industry is regionally strong – but still represent many millions of dollars in revenues.
For instance, German exports of eggs, poultry, frozen bovine meat, and processed fish came to $9.82 million.

Chocolate holds amazing potential for German brands in Turkey

Chocolate is a product seeing its popularity skyrocket in Turkey at present. For context, complete confectionery imports come to around $130.9m a year. Chocolate shipments make up a $92.6m chunk of the total.
Average consumption sits at around 3.1kg a year out of total candy consumption of 4.6kg per Turk per year.
However, it’s not just bulk chocolate, bars, and finished products that interest Turkish buyers. It’s also the materials like cocoa butter and powder. You see, there is no local production of cocoa in Turkey. Its enormous food industry is reliant on sourcing its vital ingredients from overseas.

Other prospects for German food & drink manufacturers on the Turkish market

Elsewhere, we find that hard liquor and spirits are popular. Alcohol is in interesting place in Turkey. While the state is Muslim, with the restrictions on drinking alcohol followers of the religion uphold, it’s also a major tourist destination.
As such, in hubs like Istanbul, Ankarra and other tourist destinations, alcohol sales are key economic drivers for local businesses. As such, many imported labels and varieties are found here.
For Germany, its whiskies that make up the bulk of its spirit exports to Turkey. Volumes fluctuate between $15-20m a year.
Flavoured and mineral waters are being drank in higher volumes by Turks. Their lifestyles are getting busier, and more urban, which means they are often on the go. Bottled waters let them keep hydrated while on the move – which may explain why total consumption of such products is roughly 4.8bl litres annually.
We’ve put together a handy infographic on the Turkish beverage sector for more information on this lucrative market segment.
Turkey is something of a gold mine for German traders across all business sectors and industries. Food and drink is one of these. Discover your options at WorldFood Istanbul.

Join us at international food & drink exhibition WorldFood Istanbul

Worldfood Istanbul is visited by thousands of industry professionals every year, including retailers, wholesalers, HoReCa sector representatives, and many more.
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 grab your slice of Turkey’s $5 billion import market. 
You can book your stand here.
Contact our team today if you have any further questions, or would like more information on how WorldFood Istanbul can help you grow your business.