Zeelandia CEO: Turkey's ‘inspiring’ economy prime for bakery NPD

Zeelandia CEO says Turkey is a 'dynamic economy with a young population and strongly improving middle-class'

The Zeelandia Group will invest several million euros into modernizing production in Turkey – an ‘inspiring’ economy brimming with new product development opportunities in bread and pastry, its CEO says.

The Dutch bakery ingredients major will develop new local production lines for liquid jelly ingredients and wet pastry production as well as modernize buildings operated under its joint venture (JV) with local firm Doruk. Zeelandia struck its JV with Doruk in 2003 but had been present in Turkey since the late 1990s.

Speaking to BakeryandSnacks.com about the investment, company CEO Roelof Krist said Turkey had a hugely inspiring economy.

“It’s between East and West and it’s a dynamic economy with a young population and strongly improving middle-class,” he said.

From a bakery standpoint, this meant there were significant opportunities for niche developments, he said, which would also be underpinned by the country’s extremely high rate of annual bread consumption – an average of 125kg each year.

“Around 90% of the bread eaten is simple white bread produced everywhere in small and big bakeries. But, the good thing is that if you go to the population where younger people are – where we aim for – they are trying to eat other breads and they’re open for developments,” Krist said.

In addition, the food culture in Turkey was very sweet – opening up plentiful opportunities for growing the already-strong pastry sector, he said.

Pastry and bread is 50:50

Zeelandia’s global business was split 50:50 between bread and pastry ingredients, the CEO explained, although he said there was perhaps a slight skew towards pastry.

In China, for example, he said the company only sold pastry because apart from Vietnam, Asia’s market wasn’t focused on bread. “Bread is upcoming in Asia because people are learning to eat bread and it’s considered a specialty, but in those countries we have more business in pastry.”

For Turkey, he said the focus had been, and would continue to be, on both bread and pastry equally.

Turkey represented 1-2% of Zeelandia’s global business and 2-4% within its European operations. Krist said the company wanted to significantly increase that over the next ten years.

He said the company’s JV with Doruk would underpin this ambition. “For me, it’s one of the most important things for success – having a partner who knows the local market, who knows how it works and also about people’s behavior and culture… They can just bring a little bit more.”

Turkey ripe for innovative salt reduction: Leatherhead

Leatherhead Foods Research recently identified Turkey’s bakery market was ripe for innovative salt reduction.

Business innovation manager Steve Osborn told this site there was a “real opportunity for the bakery and snacks sector to innovate and educate, as well as adopt some of the good, established salt reduction philosophies that have become commonplace in Western Europe”.

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