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ITE Transport and Logistics

Frozen food in Turkey and the Middle East – is the region hungry or has it lost its appetite?

As any cold chain professional knows, frozen food is one the industry’s most vital sectors. With the global market predicted to be worth over $293 billion by 2019, it’s big business not just for food producers but cold transport operators too.
 
The Middle East is currently experiencing several developments that are increasing consumption levels of frozen food across the region – and so cold chain companies could stand to greatly benefit.
 
So what is the truth? Does the Middle East demand more frozen foods or does its tastes focus on fresher produce? And what does this mean for cold chain in the region?
 
Changing consumer habits & growing demand
 
Turkey certainly seems to be enjoying a growing hunger for frozen produce. A report from MarketLine stated that the Turkish frozen food market generated revenues of over $1 billion in 2014. This means the market has grown at a compound annual growth rate of 4.7% between 2010 and 2014 – demonstrating that Turkish consumers are definitely acquiring a taste for frozen food.
 
Market performance of key brands is always a good barometer by which consumer demand can be judged. Take Kerevitas for example. This Turkish company, most known to shoppers via its Superfresh brand, is the country’s oldest frozen food producers and holds nearly half of the nation’s market share. From 2009-2012, Kerevitas enjoyed a 14.7% growth rate in sales for services which covers everything from frozen pizzas, vegetables and canned tuna. 
 
So what is driving this demand in Turkey and the region as a whole? There are several factors, such as rapid urbanisation, that are changing consumers habits when it comes to food. Traditionally, fresh produce was the only way to buy, prepare and eat food.
 
Now, however, societal changes are increasing sales of frozen food across countries such as Turkey and Egypt. A growing presence of women in the workplace has led to increasing levels of frozen and pre-packaged food as convenience becomes key. 
 
Economic factors are playing a big role in changing consumption patterns. In Egypt especially, according to Future Market Insights, consumers are becoming increasingly attracted to frozen food, in particular meat, due to price rises in fresh produce. As a result, Egyptian brand Koki is stepping up its already large scale supply of poultry products, including nuggets, crispy chicken and burgers.
 
Foreign foods are also expanding in these markets, which in turn means more must be shipped from overseas. A burgeoning consumer class is often what drives this desire for “luxury” or imported brands and higher income levels is something that Middle Eastern nations, particularly Turkey, is experiencing across the region. 
 
Where does cold chain fit in?
 
How can cold chain companies expect to benefit from these changing habits? Well, the answer is rather simple. Many of these nations, who are experiencing growth in their frozen food sectors, have either struggling cold chain infrastructures or very, small disorganised markets. 
 
While some brands, such as Egypt’s Koki mentioned above, have made in-roads towards increasing efficiency in or establishing their own distribution networks, there still remains a gap in the market for already established players.
 
With a growing demand for frozen products sweeping the region, cold chain operators can expect to enjoy greater market opportunities as the frozen food market increases across the Middle East. 

 

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