Turkey’s HoReCa sector surges onwards

If you’re a food supplier, you could find less hospitable markets than Turkey’s extensive HoReCa sector. Hotels, restaurants, and cafes represents a $13.4 billion chunk of the entire Turkish food industry.

If you’re a food supplier, you could find less hospitable markets than Turkey’s extensive HoReCa sector. Hotels, restaurants, and cafes represents a $13.4 billion chunk of the entire Turkish food industry.

Because of the nature of the HoReCa segment, catering to both domestic tastes and those of tourists, it is also wide open to imported goods. 
Let’s look at the state of the market, top trends, and where your business can find its feet in in Turkey.

Billions in spending across Turkey’s HoReCa sector

As mentioned earlier, spending in hotels, cafes, restaurants, and other venues for out-of-home consumption across Turkey, totals billions annually.
Admittedly, the sector did take a hit in 2016, although this was down to a drop-in tourist numbers thanks to regional political shifts and conflicts in neighbouring Syria.
However, tourist numbers have risen considerably in 2017. 40 million inbound tourists are expected to travel there come holiday season in 2018 – bringing $30 billion into Turkey, prompting sector expansion. A significant part of tourists’ money will be spent on eating out throughout Turkey.
In fact, it’s the big resort cities or attractions control large chunks of segment cash flows. 43% of sector revenues come directly from Istanbul, while Bodrum, Antalya, Izmir, Bursa, and Ankara control 30% of the market, for example.
With that in mind, Turkey’s restaurants will be enjoying a resurgence in interest this year – thanks to the growing level of holidaymakers dining out in tourist hotspots like Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir.

HoReCa grows with Turks changing lifestyles

Turkey is home to over 3,800 hotels, more than 150,000 restaurants, cafes and coffee shops, and a growing number of fast food outlets. The sector’s make up is expanding and changing every year – bringing with it increased opportunities for suppliers.
For instance, per capita out-of-home dining spending in Turkey is lower than the European average. Turks spend an average of $245 a year per person on eating out. In Europe, it’s much higher at $843 per capita per year.
This may seem like Turkey lags behind its European counterparts, but look at it this way – the mightiest trees grow from the smallest of roots. There is plenty of space for hotels, restaurants, and cafes to enjoy a greater slice of Turks’ annual spending – and this trend is being backed up by shifts in Turkish demographics.
Eating communally is an important part of Turkish cuisine and dining habits. Traditionally, this takes the form of gatherings of families and friends in their homes, enjoying home-cooked meals.
Turks are struggling to find the time for these gettogethers– and restaurants are helping fill the demand for a space to eat good food with loved ones.
The sector is expected to thus grow 5% in 2019 and will continue into the next decade.

Foreign produce fuels Turkish HoReCa activity

Now we come to the meat of the issue: how foreign manufacturers can supply HoReCa in Turkey.
The nature of the industry means, and Istanbul’s sectoral dominance, suggests a need for specialist goods offered by foreign producers. 
Turkey, geographically, will forever be the link between East and West. Such a blessing means that for millenia, hundreds of cultures have diffused and interacted with one another. This has forged incredibly cultural links – not least in cuisines, recipes, and favourite foods.
Turks are international when it comes to food, with adventurous, sophisticated palettes. In its major metropoles, you can’t move for foreign restaurants – like Italian, Tex-Mex, Thai, Chinese, and an entire world of food.
As such, these establishments require a stream of specialist ingredients from overseas suppliers to remain at the top of their game. Could your company supply them?
Hotels are also a good source of exports for alcoholic drinks firms. Wines, beers, and whiskies are particularly in focus right now – especially whiskey. Such imports have doubled too from 6.9 million litres as of 2014, thanks to the influence of Turkey’s hoteliers. 
It’s these market entry points that foreign food and drink manufacturers can explore if they’re looking for another way into Turkey.
Many restaurant groups, hotel chains, and coffee houses throughout Turkey use brokers or importers to arrange supplies. Of course, this depends on the nature of the organisation involved, but it’s worth scoping out who to do business with if you’re considering a move into HoReCa in Turkey.
TUGIDER (the Association of Food Importers) and DEIK (Foreign Economic Relations Board) are involved in international trade servicing. Representing 148 companies, the majority of which are importers, TUGIDER is the biggest player in this sector.

Meet TUGIDER & more HoReCa representatives at WorldFood Istanbul

As hotels, restaurants, and other food service organisations, do not import products directly, it is best to establish strong links with the importers, distributors, and agents who really matter. WorldFood Istanbul lets you do this at one event in one location.
As Turkey’s leading food and drink trade show, the event attracts the major players of the Turkish food industry, including HRI sector members. 
Over 13,000 visitors from Turkey, the Middle East, Europe, and beyond, attended last year’s show – all looking to find the very best partners and products to expand their operations.