HERO BABY TURKEY is preparing to sell locally-developed baby food to international markets. Jarred baby food with prebiotic compounds, which was developed to meet the needs of Turkish customers, will be on shelves in Italy, Spain, the UK, Sweden and the Czech Republic in the second half of 2021.
Swiss international consumer food manufacturer, Hero Group, which primarily sells infant formula, baby food, jam and nutritional snack foods, has been operating in the Turkish market since 2002. It entered the market as a joint venture and has since continued its activities with a 100% Swiss structure since 2015. Using 100% Turkish raw materials at its two factories in Ankara, Hero Baby Turkey has the advantage of understanding the local needs of its consumers, mostly mothers, and develops its products accordingly based on research conducted by its R&D team, according to Sirin Isik, Hero Baby Turkey Marketing Director.
Products developed locally include vegetable puree and bone broth, jarred baby food with prebiotic compounds, cereal mix with Turkish einkorn wheat (siyez), cereal mix with dates, breakfast baby food including cheese and molasses. Some are already sold in other Hero Baby markets.
“The company is the market leader with nearly 75% market share in Turkey. Localization in production helped us to increase the market share from 55% to 75% in three years,” Isik said adding that the remaining 25% market is shared by four other global brands.
10% of the company’s turnover is comes from Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, Isik said. Hero baby exports its products to Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Cyprus, Egypt, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, •man, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Ghana, Kenya, Iraq and Palestine.
NATURAL AND ORGANIC FARMING
More than 200 orchards run by 230 families produce fruit, vegetable and cereal exclusively for Hero Baby Turkey. “Our workers – we call them coworkers – only produce for us, without using any pesticides or fertilizers. The gardens are selected after a soil analysis and trees are planted only if the soil meets the standards. The tests continue until the harvest, when fruits and vegetables are harvested by hand,” noted Isik. Hero Baby Turkey supplies 4,100 tonnes of fruit and vegetable from these gardens and orchards, with the top crops being apple, peach and grape.
“Relations with the farmers is not only limited to trade,” she said. “As part of our sustainable agriculture policies, farmers are regularly trained, monitored and supplied with the necessary equipment.”
Insect infestations are avoided by seeding the gardens with beneficial ladybugs, for example. •r beehives are installed in the gardens and the fruit trees are pollinated by bees. “These methods not only increase productivity by 100%, but also raise the antioxidant levels and brix degree,” said Isik, referring to the sucrose content of the fruit. The end products are tested with 600 different tools to check whether they contain any pesticide residue every two weeks.
Using both using natural and organic farming for its end products, Hero Baby Turkey commissioned NielsenIQ for a quantitative study to understand what ‘organic/natural’ really means for families with 6 to 36 month-old babies. “The most striking aspect of this research was the high awareness of parents about natural farming practices, which we have focused on for years,” said Isik. The parents’ first preference was natural agriculture at 47%, the study showed. When asked to provide what they thought was the meaning of natural agriculture, 37% of participants prioritized products that do not contain any chemicals. “The results made us see once again that the natural agricultural practices that we advocate in our journey from the field to the table as the Hero Baby brand are well-understood by our consumers,” Isik commented.
Sirin Isik, Hero Baby Turkey Marketing DirectorThe most striking aspect of this research was the high awareness of parents about natural farming practices, which we have focused on for years.
70% of consumers ready to pay more for healthier options
81% – try to eat natural food as much as possible
74% – try to eat organic food as much as possible
83% – do research to eat healthy
61% – willing to compromise on taste for healthy food
57% – find food produced with natural farming healthier
37%- find food produced with natural farming more delicious
6% – find food produced with natural farming in season produce
9 in 10 – expect brands to help them shift to a healthier life 7 in 10 – ready to pay more for brands promoting a healthier life