Coronavirus boosts demand for flour in Europe
Demand for flour in Europe has increased tremendously since the start of the novel coronavirus pandemic, said the director of the International Association of Operative Millers (IAOM) Eurasia.
Following the rapid spread of COVID-19, demand has been high for flour and flour products such as pasta amid the panic, Eren Gunhan Ulusoy told Anadolu Agency.
While cafes and pubs have been closed to stem the spread of the virus, bakeries are doing brisk business and bread sales have increased, he said.
Turkey's flour and flour products trade has not been affected by the virus so far, but the slowdown in the global economy and increased container costs will affect it in the future, Ulusoy, who is also head of the Turkish Flour Industrialists' Federation (TFIF), highlighted.
"The epidemic does not have a direct effect on food products under the current conditions. I do not expect a problem in wheat or flour production," he said.
As the world's largest flour exporting country, Turkey sold $1.05 billion worth of flour last year.
Turkey has high capacity
Ulusoy noted that some countries, in which industries generally operate at full capacity already, will see problems in production due to manpower, logistics and hygiene standards due to the outbreak.
But "in our country, the capacity utilization rate is at 50%. In other words, we can produce twice the total flour consumption of Turkey."
He said that even if it takes months to control the pandemic, the flour sector in Turkey will continue production without any problems.
"We are lucky in the raw material side. We planted the wheat in 2019 and we will harvest it this July. In this sense, we do not expect any trouble," he noted.
Flour production to continue
Touching on flour consumption in Turkey, he said annual consumption is 160 kilograms per person and the country is one of the largest flour consumers in the world.
In the flour sector, 82% of the flour is used by bakeries, while individuals consume only 5% of the total flour in Turkey, he said.
The sector increased its capacity to meet rising domestic flour demand after the virus outbreak.
"Our flour industry continues production without interruption to prevent a disruption in flour supply," he added.