The Market's Yogurt Leader

Krefeld, Germany – “It all started with the belief that it would be possible to produce in Germany those products that Turkish immigrants would enjoy.” This is how Zekeriya Yasemin, the founder of Yayla, starts to tell the story of the Yayla corporation.
Over 180 dairy and meat items produced by Yayla-Türk GmbH, which was established in 1984, are found in Turkish kitchens all over Europe and particularly in Germany. Since meat and dairy products could not be imported from Turkey in accordance with European standards, it became necessary that these be produced in European countries. The food industry was one of the initial areas of interest for Turkish entrpreneurs based in Germany. Today, companies producing dried foods, meat, and dairy products for the market serve nearly four million Turks and peoples of other nations who enjoy a similar cuisine. Besides Turkish grocery stores and markets, other large chain stores also provide Turkish food products in their department stores to attract more customers.
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Cemal Gurkan, Yayla-Turk GmbH General Manager.

According to the Research Center Foundation of Turkey, based in Essen, Germany, the 2.7 million Turks living in Germany spend approximately 16 billion Euro annually. Most of this is expenditure on food products. While the large Turkish food manufacturers in Germany such as Baktat, Efe Fırat, Yayla, Namlı, and Ege Türk produce a wide range of products, some other companies specialize more on specific products. A survey by Yayla-Türk carried out among its own sellers indicated that the trade names best known are Ege Türk,Yayla and Gazi, in that order.While Ege Türk Sausage and Gazi cheese are well-known trademarks, Yayla also produces these items. However, it should be emphasized that this survey was not carried out with scientific precision.

Cemal Gürkan, the operating manager of Yayla-Türk GmbH, told us that they are the inventors of strained yogurt in Europe and Yayla ranks as the most-consumede brand. He also emphasizes that they sell 1000 tons of Yayla yogurt, which is produced in Luxemburg, per month. Another field in which Yayla is most ambitious concerns white meat products.

Gürkan, who has been working at Yayla now for nearly nine years, says that last year the company, which followed a trend of healthy growth for years, experienced a sluggish period. After graduating from Kabataş Lyceé in 1968, one of the longest-established schools in Istanbul, Gürkan came to Germany and studied textile chemistry. Afterwards he worked at the largest textile company in Krefeld for six years. Gürkan, who shared a past of 35 years with Zekeriya Yasemin, the owner of Yayla-Türk, started to work in the company upon Yasemin’s offer.  
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Gürkan has been working at Yayla now for nearly nine years.

Gürkan describes the company as being open to change and states that the executives are determined to accomplish their planned projects. He highlights the fact that their efforts to develop mildew protected packing for their Altın Kaymak yogurt took 1.5 years. He also reveals that the number of their products, which is presently 180, will soon rise to 200 with new produces to be introduced and they expect an increase in the number of German customers who now, thanks to tourism, appreciate the taste of Turkish cuisine. According to statistics, 4.2 million Germans vacation in Turkey every year.

Gürkan notes that Yayla is not the owner of  factories where yogurt and other products are produced, but after long years of relationship they have become identified with them. He adds, “If a third person were to make a much better offer to the factory that we deal with in Luxemburg, they would first forward the offer to us.”

Yayla, which sells in Poland, Azerbaijan and Greece, owns white meat facilities in Istanbul. There are 30 employees at its Krefeld center and it also produces meat and dairy products under another trade name, Fulya. Gürkan adds that they have some other trade names that are being reserved and are expected to show up in the market in the future..

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