The Turkish packaging sector, which has attracted intense interest from foreign companies as per capita consumption and the number of supermarkets has increased, is also receiving production requests from the US. US companies, which want to evaluate the quality and fast production of Turkish companies, invite Indian and Mexican companies, especially Turkish companies, to invest.
While the volume of Turkey’s packaging sector reached USD 30 billion, about 3 thousand companies in the sector employed 100 thousand people. The sector, which completed 2022 with exports of USD 7.5 billion, closed 2023 with approximately USD 8 billion worth of exports. The sector, which exports directly and indirectly to 180 countries around the world, managed to generate a current account surplus of USD 1.9 billion last year.
Zeki Saribekir, President of the Association of Packaging Manufacturers (ASD), evaluated this demand as follows: “As the US’s relations with China deteriorate, it continues to look for new manufacturing locations. Europe plays a big role in the growth of our industry, but the US has also increased its purchases from us. They want to buy more products from Turkey and even invite our manufacturers to invest. They have India, Mexico, Turkey and some countries in the EU on their radar to make quality products. They ask Turkish companies to produce for them. In order to increase our exports to the US, we need to focus more on automation.”
“Packaging does not have much effect on inflation”
Stating that packaged products are a symbol of development, Saribekir noted that EU countries, the USA and Japan have higher per capita packaging consumption. Stating that they want every product to be packaged, Sarıbekir said that the increase in packaging consumption per capita is directly proportional to the increase in the number of supermarkets. Pointing out that the impact of packaging on inflation is not too much, “Packaging accounts for only 3 to 5 percent of the cost of a product. This is the effect of packaging when you look at basic products such as food. Even if the price of the product increases, the cost of packaging does not exceed 5 percent. Products such as water and cosmetics are exceptions. In these products, you sell more packaging than the product,” he said.
Stating that they closed 2023 with USD 8 billion of exports, Sarıbekir gave the following information about exports: “We made USD 5.5 billion of our exports to Europe. Everyone is trying to reach rich markets, but we have Europe right next to us, we have Kapikule. There is no country we cannot reach with a truck in two or three days. As Turkish exporters, we should reach everywhere in the world, but we should think about how we can sell more products to Europe. We still meet 10 percent of Europe’s needs. There is a long way to go. We need to raise awareness of quality, color and design. We should focus on increasing our trade to Europe and then selling to the world. Even China is trying to sell goods to Europe. We aim to reach USD 10 billion in exports in 2024.”
Foreign investor interest in Turkish companies
ASD President Zeki Saribekir stated that packaging consumption per capita increased to USD 320 with the increase in the number of supermarkets in Turkey and said: “Packaging consumption per capita in Turkey is still below its potential. While this rate is USD 450-500 in Europe, USD 550 in the USA, it is around USD 600 in Japan. The rapid growth of supermarkets in Turkey and export demand are growing the sector. Today, the number of discount markets has exceeded 40 thousand. Therefore, there is great interest from foreign companies. Foreign companies manage more than 50 percent of the paper packaging sector. There is also a lot of interest in flexible packaging. Interestingly, there is no investment from China, but there is a lot of investment from European countries. Since our companies have a high growth potential, foreigners also have an appetite for investment.”