Here is why you should start exporting food to Turkey

WorldFood Istanbul is a beacon for international brands looking to break into the Turkish market. Why? Well, simply put, Turkey has an enormous amount to offer exporters from across the globe.

From a growing population that is ever more in tune with global tastes and cuisines, through to market sectors reliant on imports to plug gaps, Turkey has it all. Let’s check out some of the biggest reasons why your business should be joining us at WorldFood Istanbul this year to take your first steps into this potential-filled nation.

5 reasons to make Turkey your next food & drink export market 

Imports of key foodstuffs are rising
Turkey used to be a net food exporter, but in recent years a number of factors have turned it from pure exporter to an importer. And, across the decades, those have steadily risen.
Throughout 2017’s first 9 months, imports rose 12.5% against export growth of 4.2%. This trend has been growing steadily since roughly the turn of the millennium. Between 2003-2016, imports of foodstuffs have grown 6 times since, for roughly $66 billion, against $11 billion in exports, while total food and drink imports have amounted to $171 billion during the review period.
Turkey is importing more food and drink than ever before.
In order to make getting your goods to the Turkish market as smooth a process as possible, we’ve put together an export guide full of everything you need to know. Click here to give our export guide a read.
Expanding import sectors offer multiple market entry points
From speciality cheeses to alcoholic-and-non-alcoholic drinks, to chocolate and cocoa to gourmet ingredients, many sectors are opening up to foreign producers throughout Turkey. Turks nationwide are taking advantage of growing incomes, and Turkey’s unique geographic location, to grow their tastes – and exporters are capitalising on this.
Take cheese for instance. EU producers, including those from France, Italy, and Holland, exported $25 million worth of goods to Turkish buyers in 2016. Organic food, a sector estimated to be worth $170 million in annual Turkish sales by 2020, is also seeing imports pick up.
The point is Turks’ choices are expanding well beyond traditional Turkish, Eastern European, and Middle Eastern varieties. A world of food enters Turkey each year – and you can find the best market routes for your items at WorldFood Istanbul.
Turks have greater spending power
A change is sweeping across Turkish society. Turkey’s economy is scheduled to grow at 4% during 2018, bringing with it more cash for its 79.5 million citizens. 
Since 2003, Turks’ purchasing power has accelerated. Back then, GDP per capita stood at just $3,800. And now, according to data from Trading Economics, this reached a new high of over $14,000 in 2016. Over the past decade, Turkey’s national pockets have deepened.
Part of this is a rising middle class, which as we know from other key markets, bring with them a taste for high-end or imported products. Over the past 25 years, middle-to-high income Turks’ population share has grown from 18% to 41% of the population, showing an increasingly large dominance of buying trends nationwide. An incentive to enter this lucrative geography? Absolutely.
Turkey’s huge food processing/manufacturing sector needs ingredients suppliers
Turkey is amongst the world’s top food and drink manufacturers, with the sector covering around 10% of the nation’s total domestic product. It’s a leviathan of a food processing industry, pumping out billions of dollars, and thousands of tons, worth of foodstuffs annually.
There are over 41,000 registered food producers in Turkey. Based on this, Turkey is the Middle East’s top manufacturer, and the 7th largest in the world.
Such a juggernaut is reliant on a steady stream of ingredients to keep production going – and some segments are more reliant on imports than others. Confectionery and chocolate production, a $3.1 billion industry, is dependent on imports of cocoa as there is no domestic supply.
Suppliers of raw ingredients can find an extensive industry already open to your goods in Turkey.
Food retail & service broadening across Turkey
Food retail is enjoying a shakeup in Turkey, as the nation embraces more Western focussed convenience store and supermarket formats. Subsequently, grocery purchases are rising, alongside Turks’ increased purchasing power, at the level of 8% year-on-year.
62% of total retail spending in Turkey goes towards food and drink products.
Elsewhere, we find food service, and the HoReCa segment, is expanding too. 6% of revenues generated by the Turkish food industry come from people dining out, giving it a valuation of over $8 billion. Tourism plays a role, but there are more than 150,000 hotels, cafes, and eateries nationwide – more than to highlight it is Turks themselves powering this change.
With more money to spend on food, Turks are doing just that. 
And, with the level of restaurants serving foreign cuisines rising in key sites like Istanbul and Ankara, a sea change in Turkish casual dining habits is coming. The HoReCa sector by its nature uses imported produce, which exporters can take advantage of this by checking out the market for themselves.

Meet Turkey’s key buyers 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 retailers, HoReCa representatives, food manufacturers, and wholesalers.
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? You can book your stand here.