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Turkey’s sweet tooth: Examining the Turkish confectionery market

17/06/2019 Did you know Turks love their sweet treats? The nation holds enormous confectionery potential, with its market being one of the most developed anywhere in the world.

Including production and imports, Turkey’s overall confectionery market is worth an estimated $3.5bn. It’s expected to grow too, with Euromonitor suggesting it will have risen a mouth-watering 14.3% in value terms by 2021.

Turkey actually holds a big chunk of Eastern Europe’s entire candy market, holding an 11.5% share. It’s estimated that around 42 million people regularly consume some form of sweet product in Turkey every year. That’s over 53% of Turkey’s 79m strong population. Total consumption of all product groups, covering sugar candies, chocolate, and sweet baked goods, floats at around 4.6kg per year. Interestingly, women actually eat more sugary sweets in Turkey than men. There’s about a 6% difference between the sexes when it comes to eating candy, so that’s something to keep in mind when marketing sweets to Turks.

There are also seasonal considerations to be aware of. During Ramadan, one of the most significant dates on the Muslim calendar, confectionery consumption can spike as high as 50%. Celebrating the end of a month of fasting and solemn contemplation between May and June is often done by gifting candies in Turkey, hence the consumption rise.

Domestic production is particularly robust. Annual output of popular products is just shy of half million tons. Chocolate is the largest individual product in terms of production, with Turkish chocolatiers manufacturing 237,000 tons in a variety of guises throughout the year. Sugar candies, which covers an enormous range of products, is 240,000 tons a year. TSI, the Turkish Statistical Institute, has good news for global confectionery producers looking for their own share of tantalisingly large market. In 2017, imports reached $207.6m, according to TSI. However, data from the Atlas of Economic Complexity, an online trade database from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, puts the figure at $220.2m. 

Since 2008, according to TSI, Turkey has imported confectionery and sweet goods worth an impressive $1.2bn. That above figure covers finished products, so think things like chocolate bars, cookies, toffees, jellies and so on. What it does not factor in is raw materials to supply domestic producers. This is another avenue worth exploring, and one that generates over $200m in revenues. For instance, confectionery sugar imports were worth of $23.5m in 2017, while raw sugar imports often total over $153m. Cocoa powder is worth its own mention. With imports over $58.1m, there is real demand for this raw good in Turkey. Why? No domestic production. Chocolate is one of the strings in Turkey’s confectionery bow, and a major export product, so raw materials for the nation’s chocolatiers are like gold dust.