COVID-19 outbreak, spread rate of which has been brought under control in Turkey since April 14, and the number of recoveries has surpassed the number of confirmed cases on April 24 for the first time, accelerates preparations for the transition to the “new normal” period both in the economy and social life. The food and drink industry in Turkey, which represents a significant economic volume, however, continues its preparations in full swing for the new era and the fact that it is among the least affected industries from COVID-19 makes the industry representatives happy.
The trend in Turkey, where 110 billion TL was spent to away-from-home eating in 2019 before the COVID-19 outbreak, shifted towards household consumption and an increase in demand for delivery and takeaway services. Saying that when the “new normal” circumstances in Turkey are taken into consideration, we might need to wait until 2021 for the industry is to boom again, WorldFood Istanbul Exhibition Director Semi Benbanaste stated that the capacities of especially foodservice industry, hotels, and accommodation facilities will increase by the year 2021:
“Since the non-discretionary spending includes food industry products, the industry will be least affected due to the economic fallout from the COVID-19 outbreak. For this reason, while a major decline in production is expected in all other industries, we will see an increase in production in the food and beverage industries. The food and beverage industry will be critically important in 2020 and 2021.”
Increasing food safety concerns and the potential in Turkey
Reminding that the Covıd-19 pandemic has moved the issue of food safety up to the top of the agenda in countries, Benbanaste said, “In the coming period, countries will focus on meeting their agricultural and food product needs by primarily using their own resources. She further added that increasing domestic production, or at least having sufficient production capacity in the critical areas, will be the primary concern. Reminding that countries have many trade restrictions on agricultural production, Benbanaste added that the trade in agricultural and food products will continue to exhibit an upward trend.
“Especially given its highly developed food and beverage industry, Turkey will find new markets along the food supply chains, which will be restructured in the new era. Especially the markets in the countries neighboring the EU market will import more food products in large quantities and varieties from Turkey to ensure the safety of food supply. During the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular, bans on exports of food or agricultural products imposed by some major countries have increased the importance of alternative suppliers such as Turkey. While preparing our industry representatives for the ‘new normal’ at the WorldFood Istanbul, which will be held for the 28th time this year in TÜYAP between September 2-5, we will also keep guiding them about the emerging trends that will be relevant to the popular topics, especially the food safety. To make Turkey more advantageous, we will continue to bring together our domestic & international exhibitors, visitors, and international buyers through the new era business models including the Hyve Connect application that we developed and used in all of the exhibitions we have held since 2018. We will continue to showcase the Turkish delicacies, what our industry representatives can do as well as their products to the neighboring region and the world through WorldFood Istanbul.”
500 exhibitors and over 20,000 visitors from 45 countries in 2019
27th WorldFood Istanbul hosted 500 exhibitors and 20,746 visitors from 45 countries and recorded 29% growth in 2019 compared to the previous year. The rate of international visitors increased by 87% compared to the previous exhibition. Thanks to the Hosted Buyer Program, which provides new recruitment, business, business development and partnership opportunities to sector players, held in cooperation with İHBİR (İstanbul Cereal, Pulses, Oil Seeds and Products Exporters’ Association), over 100 foreign professional buyers from many countries which represent target markets such as China, France, Germany, Russia, United Kingdom, India, Netherlands, and the United States were welcomed in the 27th WorldFood Istanbul. At the exhibition, more than 3,000 B2B meetings were held between exhibitors and buyers and new partnerships were built.