Turkish food & drink market roundup: July 2018

July brings expanded export opportunities for foreign vegetable suppliers, fruit juice in focus, and a ray of hope for refugees to the Turkish food and drink industry in 2018.

Turkish food & drink sector news roundup

Turkish government allows import of potatoes & onions
Vegetable growers in the EU, Egypt, Israel and Turkey’s surrounding were wringing their hands in glee at the start of July this year. It was announced at this time that the Turkish government has given the greenlight to imports of onions and potatoes.
Inflation of food prices is one of the biggest issues facing Turkey at present, which at one time was a net food exporter. Now, it is major importer; something set to continue if Turkey cannot solve its food pricing problems.
For context, the price of one kilo of onions in Istanbul rose 212% between June-July 2018, for per-kilo cost of $1.40/kg. This is the first time in Turkey’s history that the cost of a kilo of onions has exceeded a dollar. 
Food entrepreneur programme helps refugees forge new lives
Like many nations around Europe, Turkey has given shelter to thousands of refugees fleeing Middle Eastern conflicts, in particular from its southern neighbour Syria. Instead of merely housing them, many Turkish organisations are helping their new visitors get back on their feet. LIFE – Livelihoods Innovation through Food Entrepreneurship - is one such charity.
LIFE’s plan is simple: give refugees the skills they need to earn a living through starting up restaurants and food businesses. This two-year project is to have a total of 1,240 beneficiaries, 75% of which will be Syrian and at least half will be women.
At the end of the scheme, LIFE will publish participant’s cookbooks full of Middle Eastern cuisines, as well as stories on the origins of each dish. Before that, scheme beneficiaries will learn key aspects of the food business, including hygiene, e-commerce, and packaging.
Fruit juice gets promotional push
MEYED, the Turkish Fruit Juice Industry Association, wants to see its products enjoyed more throughout Turkey. As a result, MEYED has declared 2018 the year of juice, and is preparing a major promotional push.
According to MEYED President İlker Güney, fruit juices don’t just benefit Turks themselves, with their nutrients, antioxidants and general health-improving properties. They also provide a balance of trade in foreign exports for Turkey, and are a major economic contributor as part of the greater food and drink sector.
What is planned? A series of multi-media advertising campaigns and in-store promotions with leading Turkish retailers is the way forward for MEYED. Over a billion litres of fruit juice is drank by Turks every year, but it is still overshadowed by some other beverages in consumption levels.
With this drive to get more Turks juiced up, we could be looking at greater export potential for international manufacturers.