Supplement law could foster more Turkish delight

By Alex McNally

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Dietary supplement Nutrition

A new law in Turkey could help make it easier for food supplement
companies to break into the emerging market, which has already seen
phenomenal growth in the last decade.

It has only been in the last few years that the country has opened its doors to supplements, after passing food laws in 1995 and 2004, which gave official recognition to the term dietary supplement. This paved the way for a simpler process for supplement companies to import into the country and gain permission from the government. The changes meant firms would apply to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs for approval, instead of applying under complicated pharmaceutical legislation to the Ministry of Health. Muge Cakir, secretary general for the trade group BesDesDer, said: "The process is much simpler now." ​ But the country is not about to stop there, an additional law purely for supplements is hoped to be in force by the end of the year. "This will cover claims, labelling, limits on vitamins and minerals, hygiene conditions and production methods,"​ Cakir said. Further details on the draft were not available at time of publication. Product claims are already severely restricted in the country, and only a handful of claims are allowed, she said. In the past this has hit industry coffers. Raisio, for example, blamed not being able to use health claims in its marketing for a slump in ingredient sales last year. A draft document is being worked on over the next six months, and it is hoped by BDD the document will become binding by the end of the year. Cakir predicts the supplement market value will grow steadily from its current place of some $150m to pass the $200m mark within the next 12 months. Growth ​Over the past decade the market has shot up from an estimated $8m. Indeed, this change has led to a wave of companies targeting the market. In December, US firm BI Nutraceuticals made a range of its herbal extracts, vitamins, minerals and specialty ingredients available to finished goods manufacturers in the country through Turkish distribution firm Safir Group. The popularity has also seen membership to BDD more than double since its creation to 18. Cakir told there is a lot of new-found awareness towards supplements among consumers. "People want to take supplements to improve their general health and well-being,"​ she said. Turkish people also have more disposable income to spend on their health than ever before.

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