Lean Cuisine: Healthier Alternative to Typical Frozen Meals Essay Sample
Lean Cuisine is a brand of low-fat and low calorie frozen entrées and dinners that are currently being sold in the United States, Canada, and Australia. Originally created in 1981 as a healthier alternative to the typical frozen meals, the company has greatly expanded over the years. As a product of Nestlé, Lean Cuisine currently includes a variety of traditional dinners, ethnic dishes, pizzas, whole-grain options, and paninis. Within the United States, the dinners need to meet the FDA, food and drug administrations, criteria of having less than 10g of fat, 4.5 g or less of saturated fat, and less than 95 mg of cholesterol.
There are differences between the tastes and preferences of the Turkish consumer, changes in legal and political aspects with importing products to the country, and they maintain a different business environment. With the success of Lean Cuisine in the US, Canada and Australia combined with the recent expansion and success of Turkey, now is the time to enter the Turkish marketplace. When compared to the difference of the United States, the cultural aspect of Turkey is enormous. This is a reasonable challenge when trying to transform our product, Lean Cuisine, to the norms of Turkish cuisine and dining. Although, it’s difficult to make a product according to the major difference in the Turkish culture, we have accepted that challenge with our personal ideas. Thankfully, the idea of changing a food product doesn’t seem so hard after we have researched all kinds of food that are preferred and popular in this new market.
The fact that Lean Cuisine is a frozen food that’s usually sold in supermarkets across America is the biggest challenge. In Turkey, frozen ready foods aren’t as popular nor are they sold as much as they are in our home market. Usually, breakfast, lunch and dinner is made and prepared at home mostly by the women of the house. When going out, it’s normal to prepare yourself your own meal or get a bite to eat from one of the many local cafes. However, the trend is definitely growing as Turkish consumption towards ready and frozen foods is becoming more popular (Deloitte). It will take a little time for the new market to adjust compared to Americans, however it’s very possible that we will get there. These kinds of challenges are faced in any kinds of changing markets. As our duty, we have focused on key points we need to change in order for the Turkish market and culture to love Lean Cuisine.
When customizing Lean Cuisine, we took many aspects of the culture into perspective. One would be the fact that obesity is a growing issue throughout the country. Especially throughout women, obesity runs in over one out of every three, making 35% of the people all throughout Turkey (Daily News). Medical institutions and advisors have lectured about what needed to be done with Turkish citizens in order for them to stop this issue. There have also been changes within foods including adding less salt and more whole-wheat flour into the breads, an item that’s very popular throughout the majority of Turkish homes (Daily News).
The developing issue of obesity in Turkey is an advantage for Lean Cuisine because it’s able to help fix the solution; therefore, it will be in demand. Since our products offer a ready-to-go meal at a low-calorie range, the demand for it will be at a high. Lean Cuisine can act as a counterattack towards the obesity problem and many consumers will see it as a part of their balanced diet. Whether they’re going to work or staying at home, the women can enjoy a lesser calorie meal that they don’t need to prepare for in advance (Prevalence of Obesity).
In order to keep our product within its overall feature and still provide for the specific conditions in Turkey, we can offer a variety of foods that will allow Turkish consumers to continue with their diets. When providing baked bread as part of the meal, it will definitely have to be whole-wheat with very little to no salt. The entire meal can be made up of minimum or no salt at all. Next, we can use olive oil instead of butter, as Turkish consumers are very accustomed to olive oil in many of their homemade dishes. Little steps such as these can help us reassure the Turkish consumers that our products are working to their benefit when trying to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle. The same message we address in the United States about staying healthy at an efficient pace can also be applied to our new Turkish market. In addition to increasing our sales and our company, hopefully we can also prevent the Turkish population from further having obesity issues.
The biggest change that Lean Cuisine is going to have to make is the food that is put into every single one of our packages. Although Turkey is a secular state, the biggest and most practiced religion would have to be Islam. About 99.8% of Turkey’s entire population is Muslim and is very committed to it (Religion in Turkey). For Lean Cuisine, this means that absolutely no pork must be allowed in our meals due to the fact that an enormous amount of the population cannot eat it. Therefore, our meals may include meats such as poultry, beef and lamb. However, in order to obey the rules of Islam, our manufacturers will also prepare the meat in such a way that it is acceptable to the Muslim community so that our company is following all aspects in meat preparation and production. We, as a company, must also be careful not to use any pork oils or gelatins in any of our foods simply because of the fact that it will prevent sales and consumption of our product. It is crucial for Lean Cuisine to enter Turkey knowing what exactly the population believes in and follows, or else we will be wasting our time and our money.
Upon believing in Islam, Turkey also has religious holidays that have to do with foods and meats in particular. The first out of the two major holidays would be Ramazan Bayram. During Ramazan, Muslims are expected to fast from dawn to sunset for an entire month. In doing so, most of the population will be expected not to eat much-even if it’s at work. This is a disadvantage for Lean Cuisine, since our demographics include a lot of people on the go that have no time to prepare a quick healthy meal for themselves. Families usually come together and enjoy a hand-cooked meal at the end of their fasting for the day continuously for an entire month. This is definitely an aspect we need to be prepared for with Lean Cuisine. We could have exclusive sales and discounts on our products during this time of year since sales will be at an all time low throughout the entire year. This option can help us promote our product at a time that we can be prepared to not sell as much.
The second holiday is Kurban Bayram. Kurban Bayram is mostly known for its sacrifice of sheep. Many Muslim families are expected to buy a sheep to sacrifice and cook the meat for a feast during the 3-4 days of the holiday. This holiday can also slow down sales, even if it’s not as much as Ramazan, because of the fact that it’s traditional to hand cook the lamb and serve it during a feast. However, Kurban Bayram won’t cause too much damage in the aspect of our sales due to the fact that it is much shorter than Ramazan Bayram and hopefully, sales can regenerate themselves after the holiday is over. Lean Cuisine wants to come into this new Turkish market with full knowledge on all the cultural differences, knowing that this is the only way it will work (Turkey Travel Planner).
Apart from the technical aspects of our sales and holidays, food preferences play a significant role in our products industry. Since our product is a food product, it is crucial that we understand what most Turkish consumers would be interested in when buying our product. Bread is a key factor in almost every Turkish meal. As mentioned previously, our bread can be altered so that we are serving whole-wheat and no salted miniature loaves within our meals that can satisfy one person. The Turkish culture is also popular for its vegetables included in a lot of its soups and stews. Therefore, Lean Cuisine can alter between a few different kinds of sautés that can be offered as options for the consumer. These can include vegetable such as carrots, spinach, beans, peas, and cauliflower along with small portions of chicken or lamb. Similar to the sautés, our company can provide different options for soups that the Turkish culture already seems to be accustomed to including: lentil soup, chicken soup, broccoli soup and tomato soup. These flavors will still have the same great taste and will still be a low-calorie product (Every Culture).
Rice is another major factor throughout Turkish cuisine. With our portions of chicken, lamb or beef, we can provide brown rice with little salt or tabouleh to satisfy the appetites yet still allow consumers to control their healthy diet. Similar to America’s tastes, Turkish consumers also enjoy most pastas and sauces so a lot of our home tastes can be transferred into this new market. Our pizzas such as the spinach pizza, mushroom pizza and three-cheese pizza can also play a significant role in sales, as the culture is very familiar with it. Apart from the Italian-based pastries, pastas and pizzas, Turkish cuisine isn’t too familiar with any outside cuisines such as Chinese, Japanese or Mexican the way American consumers are in the United States. Therefore, many meal options must be taken out for these reasons (Lean Cuisine).
Similar to our packaging back in the United States, our Turkish Lean Cuisine line will follow along with the minor change of adding in our miniature loaves of bread in microwaveable bags. The main course will still be wrapped and packaged the same way it is in America. On the outside, we will make sure all ingredients, instructions, and precautions will be labeled in Turkish. We will also have a disclaimer announcing that there is absolutely no pork included in the product. Showing our product can be part of anyone’s healthy diet will still be a priority as it is our most sales-producing focus. Due to the fact that more families are moving to urban areas and more women are becoming a part of the workforce, “Western-style operations” have seemed to grow (Deloitte). In 2000, supermarkets shared 26% or the food operations sector by the time they were first introduced in 1990 (Deloitte). This is at our advantage as we are able to market and show ourselves to the consumers more than before.
Lean Cuisine has an incredible amount of potential with the Turkish food market due to this growth in work forces and families moving to rural parts of the country. The more modern Turkey becomes, the more opportunities it will give Lean Cuisine. With the changes and adaptations Lean Cuisine is making to accustom itself according to Turkish culture, there is a strong chance that could lead Lean Cuisine to success within its new Turkish market. The IMF, International Monetary Fund, defines the Turkish Economy as an emerging free-market economy that is becoming largely developed, making it one of the world’s newly industrialized countries. The country is primarily driven by its industry and service sectors, as well as the traditional agricultural sector, which still accounts for twenty-five percent of the countries employment. While the state still remains heavily involved in the Turkish economy, an aggressive privatization program has been developed that reduces the states involvement in a variety of industries, including banking, transportation, and communication. The expansion of privatization allows private businesses and middle-class entrepreneurs to enter the marketplace, thus expanding the production and adding a dynamic aspect to their economy.
Turkey is one of the world’s leading producers in a variety of products, including agricultural, textiles, transportation equipment such as cars and ships, appliances, and electronics. Traditionally, Turkey has been known for its textiles and clothing divisions, however, by allowing privatization within the industry, the economy has been expanding production outside of these long-established sectors. Turkey is one of the few self-sufficient countries, in terms of its agricultural sector. Despite an increase in agricultural division in other economies, agriculture remains the occupation for majority of Turkish people. Turkey’s ample climate, fertile soil, and abundant amount of rainfall permit the growing of a large variety of crops. If comparing the size of countries in terms of agricultural land, Turkey is one of the largest, and this sector is known for effectively producing apricots, figs, cherries, hazelnut, quince, pomegranate, watermelon, cucumber, chickpea, tomatoes, eggplant, green peppers, lentils, pistachios, sugar beets, apples, lemon, wheat, rye, and grapefruit.
Although Turkey has been self-sufficient in food production since the 1980’s, their industrialization combined with the governmental policies has caused the GNP, gross national product, for the agricultural sector to decrease. In 1950’s the GNP of the agricultural sector was 50% and it has continued to decrease to 11% in 2005. Due to this decrease over the years, there has been an emigration of farmers who were previously farming and living in the rural areas of Turkey, to move to the urbanized areas. The population in these large cities, such as Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, and Bursa are increasing nearly 10% annually. With the decrease in their agricultural sector, and emigration of farmers to cities and urbanized regions, many citizens in Turkey are leaning off of traditional methods that previously dominated the country, and towards efficient methods. Lean Cuisine would support this decision. Nearly one-third of the total retail sector is located in the cities previously mentioned, with 54% of the retail sector being dominatedwith food sales.
Being a pre-made meal, that is tailored to the Turkish consumer’s tastes and preferences, its convenience and ease follows the decline in the agricultural sector while keeping the tradition of cultural foods previously produced. The Turkish economy has rapidly increased within the last decade, with an increase in the national GDP from $36 billion to $135 billion in 2011. The total volume of trade, which is the total quantity of goods bought and sold during a specific period of time, has also continued to increase for Turkey. The country’s total trade rose from 6% to 16%, which is from $3.9 to $23.6 billion between 2002 and 2010. While these numbers are increasing, the Turkish economy still maintains a variety of restrictions that prevent the Turkish economy from making a reasonable contribution to its foreign policy goals. Turkey’s main imports, including machinery, chemicals, semi-finished goods, fuels, and transportation equipment, come from countries in the European Union, as well as Russia, China, and the United States. These imports made up $1,983,800 in September 2012. With the Turkish food industry showing steady growth within recent years, now would be the time to import and sell a frozen-food product into the market. Turkish consumers have become increasingly demanding towards the food industry within recent years.
This is due to the variety of choices that are now offered in grocery stores in the country, as well as an increase in Turkish female citizens conducting full time jobs, thus leading to an increase in a family’s disposable income. All of these factors have led to an increase in the interest of the frozen food market to Turkish citizens; however one of the leading producers of frozen foods, Lean Cuisine, is yet to enter the Turkish market place. With twenty-seven percent in 2010, the food and beverage industry has the highest share in household consumption in Turkey. Does this leave opportunity for the company to enter the Turkish food and beverage industry? The answer is yes. The Turkish food sector imported $3.5 billion from the US as of 2009. While the Turkish market is still not mature, and the GDP per capita is expected to continue to increase in future years, there is room and opportunity for new products, such as Lean Cuisine, to enter the market. However, there are many threats when introducing a new food, especially frozen food product, to the Turkish market.
While many of the young, busy, working population may be open to trying new imported brands, the traditional citizens who previously relied on the Turkish agricultural sector to produce their meals may not be so welcoming. There is also an unstable regulatory environment in the agricultural sector, which directly affects the food and beverage industry that we would be entering. The Turkish retail sector can be divided into two categories, organized and unorganized retailers. Organized retailers are corporate chain stores, and unorganized retailers (also known as the traditional Turkish market) are smaller, single stores. More specifically, food retailers can be divided into a variety of categories depending on size, from larger corporate stores to small local stores they are, hyper markets, large supermarkets, supermarkets, small supermarkets, markets, bakkals, convenience stores. While there are still some local convenience stores and bakkals within Turkey, 168 local chains making up a total of 3303 stores, the rapid urbanization within recent years has caused a shift towards the dominating national and international supermarket chains.
There are 21 national and international supermarket chains in the country, making up a total of 8735 stores, more than double the amount of traditional Turkish markets. While imported food products are usually not found in the local supermarkets and bakkals. These tend to be led and run by traditional Turkish citizens who are not interested in making change, however, the national and international supermarket chains are where we would be importing Lean Cuisine to. Because these stores permit imports from other countries, this new product would be much more widely accepted and the large amount of these food retailers allow the product to reach majority of the country. While some citizens may be more accepting towards new products than others, and a recent increase of the GDP per capita, which is expected to continue in future years, may suggest that Lean Cuisine has chosen the perfect time to enter the Turkish market place, it is important to understand the import regulations for the country.
While Turkey does have a relatively free market for trade in goods and services, which is attributed to the recent liberalization measures that have taken places with in recent years, it does follow distinct rules to regulate imports. They follow the basic rules of the WTO, World Trade Organization, to regulate imports and tariff structures. These rules include no discrimination with in trade and that a member of the WTO must apply the same conditions on all trades and in certain circumstances, such as needing to protect the environment and public health, governments are able to restrict trade. Other rules declare that WTO members must publish all of their trade regulations as well as maintain their commitments and negotiations. Turkey has also adopted the European Union’s common customs tariff, as of 1996, eliminating all duties and charges that were on goods imported from any of the EU member countries. However, this agreement does exclude services, public procurement, and unprocessed agricultural products. The Turkish Standards Institute, also known as the TSE, is responsible for setting the standards of imports in Turkey. The TSE’s approval is required to import any product that are classified as narcotics, weapons, live animals, medicines, food, plant products, organic chemicals, telecommunications equipment, explosives, commercial paper, and radioactive materials.
Lean Cuisine does fall into one of these categories, meaning that the TSE would have to look into and commend our product before it is imported into the country. Of course, waiting for approval from the Turkish Standards Institution may take anywhere from a short period to a long period of time, there are free trade zones in Turkey. A free trade zone is an area where goods can be imported or exported, landed, handled, manufactured or reconfigured without the customs authority for the country, or in our case, the TSE. Turkey does have a variety of different free trade zones throughout the country. Most countries allow the goods to be imported duty-free, stored, assembled, etc. without paying tariffs, however Turkish free zones allow the sales of the product into the Turkish market, and the companies are subjected to a fee. While importing new products, such as Lean Cuisine, into the Turkish market can be a process it is both manageable and productive to do so during this time. The politics in Turkey will greatly impact our product, Lean Cuisine, because of its dynamics. To better understand this, one must first be aware of the Turkish political structure.
Turkey’s political system is one of a Republic founded in separation of powers. The executive branch of government is headed by the Council of Ministers (called Bakanlar Kurulu). They comprise the heads of major ministries and are appointed by the President of Turkey, (currently Abdullah Gül), on the advice of the Prime minister (currently Recep Tayyip Erdoğan). The executive branch is responsible for the management of the state. The president is the head of state, and is elected every five years. These three powers, the president, prime minister, and Council of Ministers constitute the Executive Branch of the Turkish government. The Legislative branch is comprised of the 550-seat Grand National Assembly of Turkey (known as Türkiye Büyük Millet Meclisi). They are chosen through national elections every 4 years. The judicial branch is comprised of the Constitutional Court, Court of Cassation, Council of State, and other minor courts. Turkey has been mostly secular in its government since the 1920’s. It was a striking reversal to what it was before (political Islam). All previous official Islamist parties in Turkey have been shut down by either military intervention or rulings by the constitutional court. This means that Lean Cuisine does not have to deal with government intervention dealing with religious aspects to some extent. However, we must not forget that although the country politics is mostly secular, the people are not.
Inclusive factors, such as religion and culture, play a tremendous part in the decision to bring our product to this market. In fact, in Turkey one sees a form of religious aspects merge with different political dynamics that are mostly pro-business. For example, the literatures of the Musaid association, which strongly represent most Anatolian businesses, promote links between Turkish Islam and free-market capitalism. An example in the aforementioned is further proved when The Competition Authority developed a reputation as one of Turkey’s most effective and best administered agencies, having played an important role in moving it towards the competition-based and consumer-welfare-oriented economies. In political terms, Turkey is divided into two main sections: that of Western-dwelling Turks (Istanbul, Antalya, etc.), and that of the Eastern-dwelling Kurds. The Kurds do not speak Turkish but a mixture of Indo-European dialects. The majority of Kurds reside in the Eastern part of Turkey next to the Iran border. Because of recent political turbulence regarding religious ideologies and geographical independence, most of Eastern Turkey is viewed as tumultuous by the rest of Turkey. Recent reports state that Turkey’s Kurdish conflict has turned even more violent.
It is because of this, and other political factors concerning Kurdish-Turkish conflict (ie. Border with war-torn Iran), that it is not advisable to begin promoting Lean Cuisine in these areas. It would be more reasonable to begin importing Lean Cuisine to the more politically and financially stable western part of Turkey (mainly Istanbul). The Republic of Turkey Prime Ministry “Turkish Food and Beverage Industry Report” (2010), stated that the global food and beverage market reached $3,840 billion+ in 2011 and is expected to surpass that in the upcoming years. Turkey proves to have an appealing food industry market because it has registered a steady growth in recent years. The report states that, “Since 2000, reforms have been ongoing in organic agriculture to keep pace with the growing international interest in this sub-sector. Currently, Turkey exports almost all of its certified organic food produce with the vast majority (approximately 85%) of this going to Europe”. Market entry barriers for new businesses are very low thanks to an “open and increasingly liberal trade and investment climate”. For example, since 2002 and 2007 imports to Turkey have increased almost 340 percent.
In that same period Turkey’s GDP increased 187 percent (around $663 billion), while its foreign trade continuously increased by 216 percent. According to the USDA, most of Turkey’s agriculture-related regulations, laws, communiqués, and notification are available through Turkey’s General Directoire of Protection Control (GDPC). However, the legal infrastructure of the food and agriculture sector is mainly based on communiqués. This is because in the Turkish constitutional system, laws are not allowed to be adopted, amended, or abolished easily. This causes the growing trend of the Turkish government to publish communiqués or regulations in most cases. Turkey’s pro-business government has been proactively trying to become a member of the European Union. It is for this reason that Turkey has been trying to amend its policy, in the food and agriculture sectors, to acquiesce to that of the European Union’s acquis communitaire. This “acquis” is the accumulated legislation, legal acts, and court decisions which constitute the entirely of European Union Law. Up to this day the USA and Turkey do not have an open Free Trade Agreement. Contradicting enough is the fact that Turkey ranks as the world’s 13th most attractive destination for Foreign Direct Investment.
Foreign direct investment is crucial because the growth of an emerging market such as Turkey’s has been due largely to incoming FDI. By encouraging FDI, governments can create more jobs and improve economic growth. North America has been one of the top foreign direct investors to continuously invest in Turkey. Turkey’s desire to join the European Union is so strong that they have begun to adhere to most of their regulations. This affects Lean Cuisine because the different regulations require more documentation from the Ministry of Agriculture (now called Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock [MINFAL]) in order to get past customs. In the context of this work, we will keep referring to it as the Ministry of Agriculture because the previous laws and regulations refer to it as such. Some of these documents deal with: import inspection regulation; Turkish food codex, composition and labeling of foodstuffs suitable for people intolerant to gluten; and Turkish food codex, Materials and articles. Import inspection regulations are published by the Ministry of Economics and explain what products require documents from the Ministry of Agriculture in order to be released from customs.
Turkish food codex, Materials and articles is based on Turkish law 5996, veterinary services, plant health, food and feed law, which also complies with EU harmonization regulation, 1935/2004/EC. Perhaps the major barrier in bringing our product, Lean Cuisine, to the Turkish market is the high tariffs rates. Turkey adopted the EU Common Customs Tariff in non-agricultural products imported from third countries. This means that as long as the goods in the importing country clear the Customs procedures between the EU and Turkey, they will be able to dock freely. Although Turkey is currently the U.S.A.’s 32nd largest goods trading partner ($19.9 billion in total both ways), since 2011, the tariffs placed are high. As a company, we cannot forget that tariffs affect when and how we will introduce Lean Cuisine to this prime market. Import tariffs on consumer food products range from zero to 225%. However, most tariffs fall in the range of 40-50%. Unlike the USA, Turkey has vast flexibility in raising and lowering tariffs due to the fact that, as mentioned before, its government does not easily like to make new laws or regulations, but instead choose to commandeer through “communiqués”.
If the tariff rates where to change drastically, it would be announced on December 30th, the date set up by the Turkish government to review, implement, or enforce the same or new tariff rates. Goods imported into Turkey are subject to the following tariff and tax: the customs tariff and internal taxes. The Undersecretariat of the Prime Ministry of Foreign Trade makes the applicable alterations to the import regime of Turkey each year (Turkish Import Regime of 2009). If the price of the imported product is under the “minimum supervision prices” set up by the Ministry of Foreign Trade it should have the importing license supplied by the Import Department and the documents mandatory by law and interconnected regulations. It’s also important to keep in mind the regulations set out by different Turkish ministries. For example, the Ministry of Agriculture and other local municipality officials have set forth a food labeling restriction. Turkey combines Food, Veterinary Services, Feed, and Plant Health Laws together in the Veterinary Services, Plant Health, Food and Feed Law (NO.5996). The law has been in effect starting December 13, 2010, but changes in its regulation have occurred in 2011. This law was created in order to form friendlier ties with the European Union.
The new regulations brought some important changes, such as Turkish labeling requirements before customs release of products. This would also mean that Turkish should appear in our label before it was to leave customs. Every food product coming into the Turkish market must be “labeled clearly, completely and accurately in the Turkish language”. However, Lean Cuisine can come into the country in its original packaging but a permanent sticker or label in Turkish must be attached to it before it is cleared in customs. This information will not only affect our labeling costs, but also shipping costs if not taken into consideration. The Ministry of Agriculture also sets forth strict regulation in what it classifies as a healthy or “light”, “zero calories”, and other labeling we might associate Lean Cuisine as. If the energy of fat content is reduced by 25%, the word “reduced” or “light” is allowed to appear on the product label. Also, the standard US nutritional fact label may appear. The vitamin and mineral information should also be stated. The regulation also details what warnings should be indicated under what contents. Turkey requires any importer of food to be prepared to present customs with the approved control certificate, as well as other import documentation.
This documentation includes the bill of lading, original invoice, and certificate of origin. The importer should have a completed import license and a pro forma Invoice. Also, importers are advised to provide customs with the exporting company’s analysis report for physical, chemical, microbiological, and heavy metal content, and a certificate from the official food inspection agency of the country of origin. This certificate should clearly state that the product meets the quarantine requirements of importing country (i.e. “Certificate of Free Sale”). This can cause problems because the FDA does not usually issue a certificate stating that “the product was produced in accordance with local laws and regulation and is fit for human consumption and is freely marketed in the country origin”. If this were to cause any problem for Lean Cuisine, another option would be to obtain a certificate of free sale from a government agency at the local or state level. MINFAL will then take samples of our product, Lean Cuisine, to government laboratories where the product will go through various tests (physical, chemical, and microbiological analysis), in order to confirm if the content matches the information supplied from the exporting country. If the inspection results don’t match with that of the Turkish government’s we could always ask for secondary sample tests.
This must be avoided in order to minimize unwanted and unplanned costs. According to the USDA, “In the case that the secondary test results are also against the Turkish import requirements then the shipment is rejected by MINFAL authorities or they allow special treatments under specific circumstances”. If anything goes wrong during inspection in Turkey, Turkish Customs regulates that the demurrage time for imported goods is within 45 days for marine transportation and 20 days if not by this mode of transport. After this period, the goods will be put on auction as abandoned (the income from this auction will help the Turkish government deal with the storage cost). Some leeway is granted by allowing the original importer to have priority in purchasing back its items at a very low price. However, Customs is only allowed to do this only after a formal Refusal Notice from the receiver is acquired. Laws, rules, and regulations that directly affect the importing of frozen foods to Turkey have also taken place, recently, over the years. The following three laws have been translated by a Turkish-native translator.
Turkish communiqué Food 2002/7 sets the packaging and storing requirements for frozen foods. The purpose of this rule is to contain foods that are frozen to be stored in the right temperature while stored and delivered. It is based on the Resmi Gazete’s food protection rules, (11/16/1997). The semantics of the rule go as far as to state what the required temperature should be (-30 to 3 °C or -18 to 3 °C for others), to making sure that the tools used to measure the temperature are checked by the right authority and approved. All these rules are set to meet the EU’s standards on the packaging and maintenance of frozen food imports. This law communiqué also extends to the business we will deliver our product to, groceries and supermarkets. Supermarkets and groceries (or any other business entity that stores Lean Cuisine have to obey the same rules and obey the requirements for maintain the proper temperature or be faced with heavy fines. Food inspectors that will inspect all the stores that carry our product will check all this. Communiqué Food 2001/45 states that the government has a right to take sample of our product in order to check if it qualifies as a “safe product for consumption”.
This communiqué states that the product sample of Lean Cuisine would have to, firstly, be checked if it’s the right temperature as frozen. In order to get the sample temperatures and analyze them, the Turkish government employs the EK-I and E-II methods. The EK-I goes as far as checking the depot where the Lean Cuisine will be stored. These depots will be checked constantly. Critical points, such as the entrance of the depot, could be the reason for the temperature to change. It would basically check if the temperature is maintained in the standards required by the Turkish government. Inspectors will also check the box of delivery and even the doors of the trucks carrying the frozen food (to see if any air that might change the temperature gets in).
The EK-II method states that when the food is about to be delivered to our business associate, the right tools must be used to maintain the temperature. Finally, the last communiqué that the Turkish government has imposed is communiqué Food 2004/46. This is a basic rule that states that frozen foods like Lean Cuisine have to be made with the right techniques and in the right sanitary conditions. It then has to be stored in a depot, which would then be checked by health inspectors. The foods must be fresh and up to date to be approved to be frozen. The chemical, biochemical, and microbiologic changes must be kept at a minimum and rapidly. Also, in cryogenic places, only air, carbon dioxide and azote are allowed to be used. Also, the expiration dates have to be clearly eligible in the packaging of the product. These constant rules regarding frozen foods are just Turkey’s way in which to follow the standard set up by the E.U.
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