4-7 September, 2019

27th International Food Products & Processing Technologies Exhibition

Tüyap Fair Convention and Congress Center
Istanbul, Turkey


05 March 2018

Turkish food & drink market roundup: March 2018

Our journey through Turkey’s food and drink industry continues with this look at March’s top news stories.

Turkish food & drink sector news roundup

Two months until Russian meat enters Turkey
Russian Deputy Minister of Agriculture Evgeni Gromyko has stated negotiations on Russian meat supplies to Turkey could be concluded in the next two months.
“Work is carried out proactively every day,” Mr Gromyko told reporters in Moscow in February 2017. “We are satisfied with the negotiation process with Turkey. I think we will complete talks in a month and a half to two months.”
Specifically, these negotiations relate to Russian exports of turkey, goose, and duck meat to the Turkish market.
Turkish inspectors visited Russian dairy and meat plants in 2017 too, broadening the potential scope of Russia’s exports.
Speaking in 2016, then Turkish Agricultural Minister Faruk Çelik said Turkey has a yearly meat deficit of up to 200,000 tons. 50,000 tons could be supplied from Russian sources if an export deal is struck.
Yildiz seeks debt restructure
Yildiz Holding’s, Turkey’s biscuit and confectionery heavyweight, is seeking to restructure its debt, requesting the largest loan ever awarded by Turkish banks.
According to Bloomberg, Yildiz has cited difficulties within its existing finance structure, which has left the company paying upwards of $1 billion a month in loan repayments.
Yildiz has asked for Turkey’s banks to reconsolidate current loans into one credit line with a maturity of nine years. The firm has also requested a three-year grace period on repayments too.
As owner of international brands like McVitie’s and Godiva Chocolate, as well as many domestic favourites, Yildiz is amongst Turkey’s largest food manufacturers. As such, it is an important company nationwide, so it is likely Turkish banks will be able to help resolve the company’s debt issues.
Sugar production goes private
Turkey is the 7th largest producer of sugar beet worldwide. Production of this key ingredient, vital for Turkey’s extensive confectionery segment, is currently a national concern. However, the government is starting to privatise the sector.
Turkey’s Privatisation Administration has said it intendes to sell off 14 of the 25 plants owned by publicly-owned Turkish Sugar Factories Company (Turkseker).
This nationwide plan has been met with concern. The big issue is productivity. Previously privatised factories have closed shortly after entering private hands. Tokat Cigarette Plant was one such operation, which was bought from the government in 2009 before closing in 2010.
Commentators are worried the same will happen to sugar factories. Confectionery is a market worth over $3 billion in Turkey, and sugar candies alone control $2.2 billion of the whole sector.
Sugar production has historical resonance for the Turkish Republic – as it was considered one of the “three whites” of the nascent country’s First Industry Plan.
Health factors, as private producers’ output would be more starch-sugars, which have been linked with Turkey’s rising obesity rates, are also limiting support for sugar privatisation.
Turkey targets the Middle East
Turkey is a land bridge connecting Europe with the Middle East. As thousands of tons of Turkish produce makes its way to Europe each year, the nation is keen to expand its food and drink trade routes – and has the Middle East in its sights.
In 2017, Turkey exported $4.7 billion worth of food and drink to the Middle East. This comes out of a total of $10.6 billion total exports – showing the importance of the region for Turkey’s producers. Now, says Food and Drink Industry Associations Federation (TGDF) Chairman Shams Kopuz, the goal is to boost this to $5 billion.
Turkey’s main exports to the region include olives and olive oil. For instance, the Aegean Olive and Olive Oil Exporters Association reported it grew its regional olive oil exports by 103% in 2017. 
Elsewhere, fruit and veg producers saw exports reach $791 million.