As the entire food industry went through unprecedented challenges last year, Aegean Exporters‘ The associations have taken decisive steps to increase exposure of Turkish flavors in the United States, starting with Las Vegas, Nevada.
What does Turkish taste and who are Aegean exporters‘ Associations?
Turkish Tastes is the brand that all Turkish food and beverage exporters, under the umbrella of the Turkish Exporters Assembly, must promote in international marketing efforts. Aegean exporters‘ Associations, as a regional branch of the assembly based on the west coast of Turkey, is leading a 4-year project in which Turkish Tastes is expected to be exhibited by large groups of American consumers and catering professionals.
Facts and figures on the AEA
The organization was founded in the 1940s. Today, it is made up of 12 associations, 6 of which are food exporters. With more than 3000 member companies, the product groups represented through associations are:
- Dried Fruits & Nuts
- Sea food
- Olive & Olive Oil
- Cereals, pulses and oil seeds
- Processed vegetables and fruits
- Herbs & Spices
Although we can barely recognize Turkish brands in retail stores, the total export volume of member companies to the United States is worth billions of dollars annual. And guess what? You probably already use Turkish ingredients in your cooking or incorporate them into your menus such as dried apricots, oregano, and extra virgin olive oil.
What did the AEA accomplish for Turkish tastes last year despite the pandemic?
Before reviewing the accomplishments, you should understand the philosophy and strategy developed by AEA. The organization seeks to establish a sustainable Turkish Tastes brand through strong partnerships, engage with catering professionals and educate consumer groups. In this regard, the organization has accomplished the following:
- A series of 6 cooking events live at the UNLV Hospitality Kitchen where Turkish manufacturers showcased food products. During the culinary event, a live educational presentation from Turkey was presented by the manufacturer to include nutritional information, ingredient history, and recipe ideas. The presentations were warmly received by the guests who were a combination of faculty / educators within the hospitality profession, vice presidents of food and beverage operations, sales directors from major distributors / suppliers as well as numerous casino chefs.
- Partnered with UNLV College of Hospitality for the next five years creating educational content promoting Turkish foods.
- Presentation and conduct of the 1st Annual Turkish Taste Culinary Competition in Las Vegas. The attendees were top Las Vegas casino executive chefs, restaurant owner / manager, chef educators / instructors from the UNLV College of Hospitality and more.
- A set of creative digital content to increase awareness, share the health benefits of ingredients and engage with consumers.
What awaits us in 2022 and beyond?
The future of Aegean exporters and the brand image of Turkish ingredients look promising. As the organization has launched a buzz in Las Vegas, plans for 2021 and beyond include:
- Host two major food events where professional food service operators and retail operators engage directly with Turkish manufacturers to test the products, taste the products and build relationships for potential business opportunities.
- Aegean Exporters, in partnership with UNLV and the Nevada Restaurant Association, will publish a reference book on Turkish cuisine, the first of its kind. The aim of the book is to provide consumers and hospitality professionals with comprehensive content on Turkish cuisine, the ingredients and the health benefits of a Mediterranean diet. As a bonus, the book will include 30 delicious Turkish recipes.
- The organization offers continuing education through the Nevada’s Restaurant Association and engages directly with the restaurants and food services themselves.
If you would like more information on products and upcoming events, please contact [email protected]. You can also follow Turkish Tastes Official on Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn. In subsequent issues of F&B Magazine you will be able to obtain detailed information on the ingredients and their main manufacturers.
Did you know? Turkey is …
- The largest supplier of dried figs, dried apricots and raisins.
- The largest supplier of branzino (Mediterranean sea bass) and sea bream (sea bream). As well as a major supplier of bluefin tuna.
- The world 2sd larger olive and 4e largest supplier of olive oil.
- The world 2sd largest pasta maker.
- The largest tomato sauces, grilled eggplant, supplier of grilled peppers cumulatively.
- Home to over 4,500 herbs and spices where oregano, thyme, bay leaves, cumin and sumac are grown and manufactured more than anywhere else in the world.