Weekly organic markets are becoming more popular in Turkey.
By Menekse Tokyay for Southeast European Times in Istanbul -- 29/11/12
Turkish consumers welcome organic food markets throughout the country. [Menekse Tokyay/SETimes]
As an increasing number of health-conscious Turks turn to organic food, weekly markets are fast becoming shoppers' priority throughout the country.
The success of these markets in Turkey is due to the freshness of the foods, their environmental friendliness, a wide range of seasonal products, and a variety of organically certified vegetables and fruits from around the country.
Okan Sevinc, a retailer at one organic market, told SETimes that early on consumers thought of organic food as a trend, but in time became aware of the benefits of organic food consumption.
"First few years, people were coming to such markets because it was a trend in their neighbourhood. But now, they ask the origin of what we're selling; they want to know how we cultivate vegetables. So, the trend has become a conscious lifestyle."
Eda Kurtules, an Istanbul resident, frequently shops at the Atakoy organic market and comes with a long list of items in hand.
"I want to make sure that I'm eating healthy and natural," Kurtules said. "I know that foods, fruits and vegetables sold at this organic market are well supervised by the inspection authorities, and are organically certified. I prefer coming here instead of shopping in malls, because I can find everything I look for, with cheaper prices."
Some producers and retailers insist that organic foods be backed by strict inspection measures, and a clear quality standardisation.
For that purpose, in June Turkey's Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock announced its Organic Agriculture Strategic Plan from 2012 to 2016, which states that Turkey must fully develop its organic products monitoring system. But the ministry did step up its monitoring efforts two years ago by assigning the responsibility to the ministry's local authorities and municipalities.