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Turkey entrepreneur exporting tailor-made 'pekmez'

MALATYA – Anatolia News Agency | 5/26/2011 12:00:00 AM |

Pekmez producer Dutpınar, which is based in the eastern province of Malatya, is producing and exporting the tailor-made breakfast condiment out of apricots, carob, elecampane, sugar beet, date-palms, apples and mulberry, in addition to regular grape pekmez. The company's owner, Tahsin Öner, is looking to promote the product in Europe to increase export volume

The producer of a Turkish fruit-based condiment in the eastern province of Malatya is looking to promote the product in Europe to increase export volume.

Dutpınar Pekmez makes “pekmez,” a jam- or syrup-like substances commonly found on Turkish breakfast tables, out of apricots, carob, elecampane, sugar beet, date-palms, apples and mulberry, in addition to regular grape pekmez upon special orders from clientele at a high-technology facility.

Speaking to Anatolia news agency, firm owner Tahsin Öner said the business initiative dated back a 2005 decision to make an investment in the city. After the feasibility studies, he and his team discovered a serious supply shortage in the pekmez sector.

Starting as early as 2005, the Dutpınar pekmez facility quickly became the supplier of many companies nationwide making pekmez.

Öner said they were producing all types of pekmez that were made to order for their business partners. According to data provided by Öner, the company produces 12 tons of pekmez on a daily basis in a 4,000-square-meter indoor facility situated on a site of 20,000 square meters.

“We are diversifying our product range based on orders from our clientele. We already are making pekmez out of many raw materials.  By doing what we do, I believe, we are greatly contributing to the regional economy. In 2010, our dried mulberry purchase amounted to around 900 tons, which is a remarkable figure. Our demand effected a mulberry cultivation increase in the area,” he said.

He said that because the farmers now made better money off of the crop, they were currently setting up new mulberry orchards.

“Turkey has a limited stock of grapes suitable for pekmez production. We are buying grapes from the Gölbaşı district of the southeastern province of Adıyaman and the southeastern province of Mardin. And we are holding talks with the provincial agriculture administration to cultivate grapes in our province,” he said.

He said the company was processing the entire stock of low-quality and export-surplus grapes and was bringing them in as added value to the national economy.

Öner said they acquired an ISO-quality certificate shortly after starting production, underlining that the company was making a 100 percent natural production in complete compliance with sector regulations.

Öner said the company’s production was sent to European countries via export mediators, but noted that pekmez had not yet caught on in Europe.

The company’s export figures have not yet reached the desired level, Öner said, adding that they were working on increasing their export volume by diversifying exported product types. The company is exporting the carob seeds to Spain, where they are used as a viscosity modifier in the ice cream sector.

“However, consumption rates are gradually increasing in the region. Pekmez is consumed more in the areas populated by Turkish people and the Europeans have recently started to consume the syrup as they have learned about it from their Turkish neighbors,” he said, adding that provided the product is well-promoted in these countries, its sales would contribute greatly to the Turkish economy.

Öner said it was a must to let people know about the high nutritional values of the pekmez. “Each type of pekmez have different nutritional and mineral values; for example, grape pekmez contains a high level of iron therefore it can cure anemia, and other diseases triggered with a decreased level of hemoglobin. Similarly, it is now widely known that the carob pekmez is very healthy.”

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