`Turkish Olive Oil Aims for Asia - Olive Oil Times

Turkish Olive Oil Aims for Asia

Mar. 1, 2011
Gita Narrayani

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The olive is one of the old­est cul­ti­vated trees in the world and today is prized for the var­i­ous prop­er­ties of its oil that make it one of the health­i­est cook­ing medi­ums. Despite its known attrib­utes, use of olive oil is not as preva­lent as it should be. With its 130 mil­lion olive trees, Turkey is the sec­ond largest olive cul­ti­va­tor in the world and is also is among the top five coun­tries in olive oil pro­duc­tion. Turkey is one of the pro­duc­ing coun­tries that have embarked on an aggres­sive mar­ket­ing cam­paign in the Asian region for the pro­mo­tion of its unique olive oil.


The Turkish Exporters Assembly (TİM) is the umbrella orga­ni­za­tion that is for­mu­lat­ing the pub­lic­ity cam­paigns for all sec­tors, includ­ing olives and olive oil. TİM chair­man Oğuz Satıcı was clear in his view that China and India are the pri­or­ity tar­gets for the adver­tis­ing cam­paigns. The 4 pri­mary coastal provinces have been selected among the 23 Chinese provinces for the launch of the pilot project.

With a pop­u­la­tion of 40 mil­lion in just one province, this area has enor­mous poten­tial for the sale and con­sump­tion of Turkish olive oil. Though oil con­sump­tion is high in these provinces, the per­cent­age of olive oil con­sump­tion is extremely low and could be tar­geted as a poten­tial mar­ket for Turkish olive oil.

Chinese cui­sine is gen­er­ally found to be unique in its fla­vor, ingre­di­ents and taste. Its reliance on monosodium glu­ta­mate (MSG) and exces­sive use of oil how­ever is con­sid­ered unhealthy. It is only recently that olive oil has slowly started becom­ing pop­u­lar due to its health ben­e­fits and imports have gone up since 2001 by almost 70% each year. So Turkish pro­duc­ers feel that though olive oil con­sump­tion is now just a tiny por­tion of the Chinese edi­ble oil mar­ket, an effec­tive pro­mo­tional cam­paign and syn­ergy with local cui­sine could gen­er­ate enor­mous poten­tial.


India is one of the emerg­ing mar­kets that all pro­duc­ing coun­tries are eye­ing in their pro­mo­tional plans. Turkey is not to be left behind and the pro­duc­ers now wish to sell their olive oil under their own labels, rather than in bulk where the coun­try of ori­gin is not labeled sep­a­rately. The Anatolia region is believed to be the orig­i­nal home of the olive tree in ancient times and Turkish exporters are eager to pro­mote the unique prop­er­ties, taste and fla­vor of their olive oil to the Indian peo­ple. The Promotional Committee for Olive and Olive Oil has ini­ti­ated a mar­ket­ing project for Turkish olive oil in the coun­try.

The Turkish pro­duc­ers are aware that olive oil con­sump­tion is cur­rently a minis­cule per­cent­age of the total mar­ket for edi­ble oil in the huge mar­ket. The rea­sons are 2‑fold; one is the spe­cial char­ac­ter­is­tics of the var­ied cui­sine in India and the other is the exor­bi­tant price of olive oil as com­pared to the other oils. Mehmet Aytek, Chief Commercial Counselor of the Turkish Embassy in New Delhi is how­ever opti­mistic about future prospects as there is a focused attempt to per­suade the gov­ern­ment to reduce import duty on olive oil as well as sev­eral pro­mo­tional cam­paigns in the coun­try.

India is an attrac­tive tar­get mar­ket with an afflu­ent mid­dle class and increas­ing aware­ness of health issues. These are the fac­tors that have kept the imports of olive oil on an upward trend from 1500 tonnes in 2006 to 2300 tonnes in just a year. The pres­i­dent of the Indian Olive Oil Association VN Dalmia expects the demand to touch 3000 tonnes by 2011 out of which 2000 tonnes would be for edi­ble use.


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