Turkey Food Exports, 7 Reasons Why Turkey is Top

Turkey Food Exports, 7 Reasons Why Turkey is Top

7 Reasons Why Turkey is a Top Food Exporter in the World

Turkey is a country with a rich culinary heritage and a diverse agricultural sector. It is also one of the top food exporters in the world, with a total value of $17.9 billion in 2020, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute. In this article, we will explore some of the reasons why Turkey has such a strong position in the global food market.

1. Turkey has a favorable climate and geography for food production.

Turkey is located in a region that has a temperate climate, with four distinct seasons and abundant rainfall. The country has a varied topography, with mountains, plains, plateaus, and coasts. This diversity allows Turkey to grow a wide range of crops, such as cereals, fruits, vegetables, nuts, olives, tea, and spices. Turkey is also blessed with rich natural resources, such as water, soil, and biodiversity.

2. Turkey has a long history and tradition of food culture.

Turkey’s food culture is influenced by its historical interactions with various civilizations, such as the Anatolian, Ottoman, Persian, Arab, Greek, and Balkan cultures. Turkish cuisine is known for its variety, freshness, and flavor. Some of the most popular dishes include kebabs, mezes, dolmas, baklava, and Turkish coffee. Turkey also has a strong tradition of food processing and preservation techniques, such as drying, salting, pickling, fermenting, and smoking.

3. Turkey has a large and dynamic domestic market for food consumption.

Turkey has a population of about 84 million people, making it the 19th most populous country in the world. It also has a young and urban population, with more than half of the people under the age of 32 and more than 75% living in cities. These factors create a high demand for food products, especially processed and packaged foods. According to Euromonitor International, Turkey’s food and beverage market was worth $110 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow by 6% annually until 2024.

4. Turkey has a competitive and innovative food industry.

Turkey’s food industry is one of the largest and most developed sectors in the country’s economy. It employs about 20% of the total workforce and contributes about 7% to the gross domestic product (GDP). The sector consists of more than 40,000 companies, ranging from small-scale farmers to large-scale manufacturers. Turkey’s food industry is also characterized by its competitiveness and innovation. It produces high-quality products that meet international standards and regulations. It also invests in research and development (R&D) to improve its productivity and efficiency.

5. Turkey has a strategic location and access to major markets for food exports.

Turkey is situated at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. It has a coastline of more than 8,000 kilometers along the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea, the Aegean Sea, and the Sea of Marmara. It also has land borders with eight countries: Greece, Bulgaria, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, and Syria. These geographical advantages enable Turkey to reach more than 1.5 billion consumers in neighboring regions. Turkey also benefits from its membership in various trade agreements and organizations, such as the Customs Union with the European Union (EU), the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with 27 countries,
and the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO).

6. Turkey has a diversified and growing portfolio of food exports.

Turkey exports more than 1,800 types of food products to more than 200 countries around the world. Its main export markets are Iraq (12%), the United States (6%), Germany (4%), Syria (4%), and the Netherlands (3%). Its main export products are fresh fruits and vegetables (23%), cereals (14%), dried fruits and nuts (10%), fish and seafood (8%), and confectionery (7%). Turkey also exports niche products that have high value-added potential,
such as organic foods, halal foods, and functional foods.

7. Turkey has a supportive government policy and vision for food exports.

The Turkish government recognizes the importance of food exports for the country’s economic development and social welfare. It provides various incentives and support programs for food exporters, such as subsidies, tax exemptions, credit guarantees, export insurance, and market research. The government also has a strategic vision for increasing food exports in line with its National Export Strategy 2023, which aims to achieve $500 billion in total exports and $40 billion in food exports by 2023.

Turkey Food Exports: Trends and Challenges

Turkey is one of the major food exporters in the world, with a diverse range of products such as dried fruits, nuts, olive oil, pasta, confectionery, dairy, poultry and seafood. In this blog post, we will explore some of the statistics, trends and challenges of Turkey’s food exports industry.


According to the World Bank, food exports accounted for 11.58% of Turkey’s merchandise exports in 2022, down from 12.27% in 2021. The value of food exports was $11.6 billion in 2022, slightly lower than $11.9 billion in 2021.

The main destinations for Turkey’s food exports in 2021 were Iraq ($1.36 billion), the United States ($848 million), Germany ($830 million), Syria ($400 million) and the Netherlands ($289 million). The main products exported were fruits and nuts ($2.9 billion), cereals ($1.8 billion), vegetables ($1.4 billion), sugar and confectionery ($1.3 billion) and animal or vegetable fats and oils ($1 billion).

Turkey is also a significant producer and exporter of poultry meat, especially turkey meat. According to the USDA, Turkey produced 5.56 billion pounds of turkey meat in 2021, down from 5.74 billion pounds in 2020. The value of turkey production was $5.89 billion in 2021, up from $5.17 billion in 2020.

The United States is the largest market for Turkey’s turkey meat exports, followed by Iraq, Mexico, China and Hong Kong. In 2021, Turkey exported 548 million pounds of turkey meat, worth $636 million, down from 571 million pounds and $662 million in 2020.


Turkey’s food exports industry has been growing steadily over the past decade, driven by factors such as increasing demand from neighboring countries, rising global food prices, improved quality and standards, diversification of products and markets, and government support and incentives.

Some of the emerging trends in Turkey’s food exports industry are:

  • Increasing focus on value-added products: Turkey is moving away from exporting raw or semi-processed products to exporting more processed, packaged and branded products that have higher value and quality.
  • Expanding into new markets: Turkey is exploring new opportunities in markets such as Africa, Asia and Latin America, where there is a growing demand for halal, organic and ethnic foods.
  • Leveraging e-commerce platforms: Turkey is using online platforms such as Alibaba, Amazon and eBay to reach more customers and increase its visibility and competitiveness in the global market.
  • Adopting digital technologies: Turkey is investing in digital technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence and big data to enhance its traceability, transparency and efficiency in the food supply chain.


Despite its achievements and potential, Turkey’s food exports industry also faces some challenges that need to be addressed. Some of these are:

  • Trade barriers: Turkey faces various trade barriers such as tariffs, quotas, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical regulations and standards, and non-tariff measures imposed by some of its trading partners.
  • Political instability: Turkey’s relations with some of its neighboring countries such as Syria, Iraq and Iran have been strained due to political conflicts, security issues and humanitarian crises, affecting its trade flows and market access.
  • Climate change: Turkey is vulnerable to the impacts of climate change such as droughts, floods, heat waves and pests that can affect its agricultural production and quality.
  • Competition: Turkey faces intense competition from other food exporters such as the European Union, China, Brazil and India that have lower costs, higher subsidies or better access to some markets.

Turkey’s food exports industry is a vital sector for its economy, employment and food security. It has shown remarkable growth and resilience over the years, but it also needs to overcome some challenges and seize new opportunities to maintain its competitive edge in the global market.










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