Turkish food & drink market roundup: November 2018

November turns up some interesting stories in Turkish food and drink, including 2017’s total import volumes, how much food Turkey wastes a year, and potential changes to fruit juice labelling nationwide.

Turkish food & drink imports near $4bn a year

The latest Turkish food & drink import values have been revealed, bringing good news for international exporters.
According to data from Turkey’s Ministry of Customs and trade, the value of food and drink goods imported by Turkey between Jan-October 2017 came to $3.94bn. Exports reached $8.75bn, putting Turkey’s trade balance into the positive.
That’s a total of around 4.9m tons of produce.
2017 was the first year in which import duties on certain products were reduced to fill supply gaps left by an underperforming Turkish harvest. In this context, it was mostly grains and bulk agricultural goods that enjoyed lower import fees.
This news suggests that trends shaping Turk’s consumption habits, i.e. a younger, educated population with busy lives and a taste for foreign foods, is still a vital part of the wider market. The export opportunities, it seems, are growing.

Turks throw away 26 million tons of food annually

Food waste is a worldwide problem from which Turkey is not immune. According to the Turkey Food and Drink Industry Associations Federation (TGDF), over 26m tons of food and drink products gets wasted in Turkey every year.
The total includes waste from production and processing, transportation, and personal consumption. And with the population growing at 1.5% a year, urbanisation rising at a rapid rate, and food inflation price inflation never far away, Turkish authorities are keen to deal with the problem as soon as they can.
Across the nation, it will require a concerted effort from manufacturers, to transporters, and individual consumers, to limit food waste. The Zero Waste Food Leaders network, an international body devoted to tackling wastage worldwide, has recommended enshrining new legislation to provide as many limits on waste food as possible. However, it will take a while until this is enacted in Turkey properly.

Fruit juice labelling explained

Fruit juices are a growing favourite amongst Turks right now, but there has been some confusion as to what manufacturers can and can’t label as full fruit juices.
Under Turkey’s Food Codex, there are four different categories of fruit drinks: fruit juices, fruit nectars, fruit drinks, and fruit flavoured drinks. Their content of produce to flavourings and preservatives affects labelling.
For instance, only drinks with 100% fruit content, and no artificial flavourings or preservatives, can be considered fruit juices. Nectars may contain between 25-99% fruit juice. Under that, they are either fruit and or fruit-flavoured drinks, and must be labelled as such.
Turks are becoming ever more health-conscious. They want to know where their food and drink comes from and what it contains. Organic and health products have seen 50% sales growth since 2015. In this context, fruit juice consumption stands at 1.1bl litres annually, so there is plenty of export potential for such products in Turkey right now.