Turkey’s sweet tooth: examining the Turkish confectionery market

Did you know Turks love their sweet treats? The nation holds enormous confectionery potential, with its market being one of the most developed anywhere in the world.

The state of the Turkish sweets sector

Including production and imports, Turkey’s overall confectionery market is worth an estimated $3.5bn. It’s expected to grow too, with Euromonitor suggesting it will have risen a mouth-watering 14.3% in value terms by 2021.
Turkey actually holds a big chunk of Eastern Europe’s entire candy market, holding an 11.5% share.
It’s estimated that around 42 million people regularly consume some form of sweet product in Turkey every year. That’s over 53% of Turkey’s 79m strong population. Total consumption of all product groups, covering sugar candies, chocolate, and sweet baked goods, floats at around 4.6kg per year. 
Interestingly, women actually eat more sugary sweets in Turkey than men. There’s about a 6% difference between the sexes when it comes to eating candy, so that’s something to keep in mind when marketing sweets to Turks.
There are also seasonal considerations to be aware of. During Ramadan, one of the most significant dates on the Muslim calendar, confectionery consumption can spike as high as 50%. Celebrating the end of a month of fasting and solemn contemplation between May and June is often done by gifting candies in Turkey, hence the consumption rise.
Domestic production is particularly robust. Annual output of popular products is just shy of half million tons. Chocolate is the largest individual product in terms of production, with Turkish chocolatiers manufacturing 237,000 tons in a variety of guises throughout the year. Sugar candies, which covers an enormous range of products, is 240,000 tons a year.

Imports of confectionery continue to rise

TSI, the Turkish Statistical Institute, has good news for global confectionery producers looking for their own share of tantalisingly large market. 
In 2017, imports reached $207.6m, according to TSI. However, data from the Atlas of Economic Complexity, an online trade database from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, puts the figure at $220.2m. 
What’s the split? OEC data suggest an import structure favouring chocolate:
• Chocolate - $130m – 22.6% year-on-year growth
• Baked goods - $69.1m – no year-on-year growth
• Sugar candies - $21.1m – 19.2% year-on-year growth
Either way, both stats indicate an increase in import values. In 2015, for instance, the figure was more around $130m, so there has been major growth in this sector.
Since 2008, according to TSI, Turkey has imported confectionery and sweet goods worth an impressive $1.2bn.
That above figure covers finished products, so think things like chocolate bars, cookies, toffees, jellies and so on. What it does not factor in is raw materials to supply domestic producers.
This is another avenue worth exploring, and one that generates over $200m in revenues. For instance, confectionery sugar imports were worth of $23.5m in 2017, while raw sugar imports often total over $153m.
Cocoa powder is worth its own mention. With imports over $58.1m, there is real demand for this raw good in Turkey. Why? No domestic production. Chocolate is one of the strings in Turkey’s confectionery bow, and a major export product, so raw materials for the nation’s chocolatiers are like gold dust.

A European flavour to Turkish candy imports 

The chief source markets for Turkey’s confectionery import sector are mainly European. Although it does look around the world, India being a major chocolate exporter to Turkey for instance, it’s mainly Europe that indulges Turkey’s sweet tooth.
Here’s the top 3 suppliers of the main 3 confectionery product groups in Turkey:
• Germany – 33% import share - $43.3m exports
• India – 20% import share - $25.4m exports
• Belgium – 9.5% import share - $12.3m exports
Sugar candies
• Belgium – 21% import share - $4.44m exports
• The Netherlands – 17% import share - $2.62m exports
• UK – 12% import share – 2.59m exports
Baked Goods
• Belgium – 23% import share - $16.1m exports
• Italy – 16% import share - $11.4m exports
• Germany – 13% import share - $9.33m exports

Chocolate: Turks’ favourite confectionery

A special focus needs to be applied to chocolate in Turkey. 
The sector itself is worth a cool $1.3bn – or roughly a third of Turkey’s overall confectionery market. Consumption is approximately 3.1kg per year, which is about 3 quarters of all candy eaten by Turks on an annual basis.
There are some key distinctions in the import share of various chocolate products in Turkey. Here’s the shape of the import sector:
• Bulk chocolate – 44% import market share
• Filled chocolate bars & pre-prepared products – 22% import market share
• Foods featuring chocolate or cocoa – 19% import market share
• Non-filled chocolate bars & pre-prepared products – 13% import market share

Find your confectionery buyers at WorldFood Istanbul

As Turkey’s leading food and drink trade show, WorldFood Istanbul attracts the major players of the Turkish food industry, including confectionery buyers from across Turkey, as well, restauranteurs, HoReCa sector members, retailers, and others food & drink professionals.
Over 16,000 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.
Boost your sales in this thriving geography by securing a top stand location here.
 Need any extra info? Contact us today.