Selten, an exhibition company charged by the Turkish government to spearhead the country’s presence at the recent Gulfood Manufacturing event in Dubai, said Turkish businesses would continue their charge into the regional market.
Ender Karabulut, Selten’s sales manager, said food and beverage had been made a priority by the economic development ministry, which will offer substantial subsidies to companies that take part in some international trade shows.
“There are a number of reasons why the Turkish influence on the region’s food and beverage market is growing,” he said.
“Key among these is that the Middle Eastern markets want halal products and Turkey is trusted with great halal expertise.”
Also tempting the market is Turkish confectionery, which Karabulut said appeals to Middle Eastern tastes, and the fact that Turkey is relatively close to GCC markets and so can save on costs.
“Our value pricing makes us highly competitive against other European producers,” he added.
Turkey’s food sector exports now account for almost 19% of its GDP, according to the UN. It is now self-sufficient in most foods so further export growth is predicted.
New food and beverage segments are being opened up, particularly within Turkey’s seafood industry.
With aquaculture experiencing major development, the Turkish Seafood Promotion Council now predicts that aquaculture exports will rise by 50% by 2023.
A report by global auditing firm PwC said that Turkey could become the world’s 12th largest economy by 2041 by concentrating of five industry sectors, including food processing, and the opening up of new export markets.
“Continued foreign direct investment may also help to foster a growing agricultural R&D industry,” the report said.
Such bullish forecasts have seen an influx of GCC investment into Turkey’s food sector. Abu Dhabi giant Agthia acquired Turkish spring water firm Pelit Su, while UAE investment house Abraaj has taken a stake in the Yorsun Group, Turkey’s fourth largest dairy producer. Bahrain’s Investcorp has also bought a stake in meat producer Namet Turkei.
According Euromonitor International research, the Middle East and North Africa food and beverage market will grow at an annual rate of 7.4% until 2020.