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New Delhi, Sept. 14

WITH the festive season round the corner, traders from India have placed orders for about 40-45 tonnes of hazelnuts from Turkey. Turkey is targeting India's rapidly growing food market for its hazelnuts and has started its initial round of promotions.

The Turkish Hazelnut Promotion Group (HPG) has appointed the SCS Group, a food marketing advisory firm to manage and trade consumer promotions for hazelnuts in India. Turkey accounts for about 70 per cent of worldwide hazelnut production. With annual hazelnut production at 400,000 tonnes (2003-04), it exported 223,000 tonnes of hazelnuts.

Other countries that produce hazelnut include Italy, Spain and the USA.

Announcing the launch of HPG's promotional activities in India, the Ambassador of Turkey to India, Mr Hasan Gogus, said: "The nutritional characteristics and the taste of hazelnuts make it unique and ideal ingredient for various food products such as chocolates, bakery, ice cream, etc."

Mr Sumit Saran of the SCS Group, said: "We expect the market for hazelnut in India to be about 4,000-5,000 tonnes a year over a 3-5 year period. India consumes 40,000 tonnes of almonds annually and the market is witnessing a 25 per cent growth per annum. Hazelnuts should have 8-10 per cent of the market."

He said hazelnuts would be priced "in the same range as almonds, maybe slightly cheaper" and prices could range from Rs 250-400 a kg. Though Indians are not aware of hazelnuts as such, but they had high taste preference for Ferrero Rocher chocolates, that contain hazelnuts, said Mr Saran, adding that traders from India had already placed orders for 40-45 tonnes of hazelnut from Turkey.

"In India, we would target hazelnuts to be used as an ingredient in food industry, hazelnut products as healthy snack, dry fruits gift basket," he said adding that initially, Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore are the cities which would be targeted for promotion. Turkey exports hazelnuts several countries including Germany, Italy, France, Belgium and the Netherlands, that are primarily chocolate producing countries.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated September 15, 2005)
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