Turkey’s first chocolate factory
World’s leading nutrition, health and wellness company which is preparing to celebrate its 150th anniversary in two years’ time, Nestlé’s top level executive in charge of sales Patrice Bula was in Istanbul recently.
Bula, me and Nestle Turkey CEO Reinhold Jacobi, we all met at Changa restaurant inside the Sabancı Museum and had a pleasant conversation from the European economy to the face of Nespresso brand, George Clooney. Indeed, not forgetting the history of chocolate and its relationship with Turkey. Nestlé’s relationship with Turkey started in 1875 with powdered milk and baby food exports. In 1909, its first sales office in Istanbul’s Karaköy was opened. Turkey’s first chocolate factory was opened in 1927 by Nestlé in Istanbul, in the Feriköy district.
It is because of this factory at Feriköy that Turks, to a great extent, was able to meet the chocolate tablet.
Unfortunately after Nestlé’s moving its production center to Bursa, the historic factory at Feriköy does not exist anymore. Just like the historic liquor factory that was set up by the French in Istanbul’s Mecidiyeköy district in 1930 upon Atatürk’s demand.
If Turkey’s first chocolate factory and first liquor factory had not had its share of the crazy rush of the developers, Istanbul could have had two wonderful museums today.
Anyway, if we go back to our conversation, according to Reinhold Jacobi, Turkey is among Nestlé’s growing markets.
Its turnover, which grew 20 percent in 2012, has reached 1.4 billion Turkish Liras.
Jacobi explained that 95 percent of the Nestlé products sold in Turkey were produced in Turkey and also exported from here to the Middle East and Gulf countries.
Nestlé’s largest market is the United States, the second biggest is China followed by France.
Well, has the crisis in Europe affected their business?
Patrice Bula said Nestlé was not very much affected by the crisis because they had adapted their strategies to the crisis.
Nestlé for example, in Greece, by developing products of lower price while maintaining the same quality, was able to grow 4-5 percent in a market in crisis.
“Europe is on its way to solve the debt and the euro issues, I believe,” Bula said, adding that due to the confidence in Europe, they were preparing to open factories in Germany and in Switzerland.
A significant project of Nestlé in Europe is to create new jobs for 20,000 young people. Unemployment among the youth is a big headache for Europe. The average unemployment rate among young people is over 40 percent in Spain whereas the European Union average is 23 percent.
The details of the project on young people will be publicized in September. As a leading firm in Europe, Nestlé is thus laying hands on an important issue.
The most colorful part of the conversation was when we talked about how famous actor George Clooney accepted to become the face of the brand.
I asked about the reason why Nespresso and George Clooney became so integrated.
According to the information fed by Patrice Bula, Clooney was already a consumer of this product before he appeared in Nespresso commercials. He was already a member of the “Nespresso Club.”
Bula said, “Clooney already knew and liked the brand. When we brought him the proposal he accepted but he went to Costa Rica to meet coffee farmer to get to know the product better.”
Clooney, as far as I understand, opted for not surpassing the product. This must be the key to good acting… To be able to keep oneself behind if needed.