The sector has now set eyes on a target of $250 million yearly exports.
According to data by the Aegean Exporters’ Association, Turkey’s exports of fresh fruit and vegetables increased by 20 percent from $777 million to $936 million in the January-June period.
In the sector, where dozens of products are exported from carbonated drinks to fruit juice and from pickles to tomato paste, the export of frozen fruits and vegetables increased by 32 percent in the January-June period to $118 million.
In frozen products, $70 million worth of vegetables and $48 million of fruit were exported.
Aegean Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Exporters’ Association chair Hayrettin Plane said that the United States and European countries were predominant in the frozen fruit and vegetable exports to 121 countries.
Indicating that the U.S. ranks first in frozen fruit and vegetable exports with $20 million, Uçar said, “Germany ranks second with $15 million, and the United Kingdom ranks third with $8 million.”
The export of frozen fruits and vegetables is a good example of value-added product exports, Uçar said.
“Both the added value and demand of frozen foods are increasing exponentially day by day,” he added.
“We exported $203 million of frozen fruit and vegetables in 2020, and we aim to increase this figure to $250 million this year,” Uçar stated.
Erkan Tabak, an executive of the Özgörkey Food in İzmir, said that they achieved an increase of over 40 percent in their exports as a company.
Emphasizing that the consumption in the domestic market has increased compared to the past, Tabak said that there were still those who view frozen products with prejudice in Turkey.
He said that the products collected from the field are frozen in about six hours, keeping their freshness intact until use.
“The consumption of frozen food in European countries is about 50 kilograms per person per year,” Tabak said.
It is around 80 kilograms in northern countries, but in Turkey, it is only four kilograms,” he said, adding that the market has a great potential of growing.
“During the pandemic, the closure of the restaurants and the malls hit our sales,” he said.
“But our sales in the supermarkets increased by more than 100 percent. Now, with the normalization, the demand of other sectors has started to move. This upward trend is continuing. The increase in frozen food exports and the consumption in the domestic market will continue,” he added.
Hurriyet Daily News