Exporter EGE Kaptan introduces candied chestnuts from Turkey

"Germany: "Enthusiasm for chestnuts is enormous”"

Have you ever heard of candied chestnuts? Probably not, but Turkish export company EGE Kaptan launched the sweetened chestnuts here in Germany two months ago. According to owner Tahir Kaptan, the potential of this product is huge. Not only here in Germany, but also elsewhere in Europe. “The health trend is here. But the big problem is that many people do not even know how nutritious and varied chestnuts are.”


Candied chestnuts have great potential in upscale gastronomy, not least because of their appearance

Roasted chestnuts have been available at the Christmas markets for many years. However, candied chestnuts are a relatively new product that until recently did not exist in Germany. “Demand is currently very high. It's a gourmet product and therefore our goal is to sell the candied chestnuts primarily to hotel chains and other luxury food services.”


Whether raw or sweetened: chestnuts are unique and incomparable to other nuts

The managing director emphasizes that the knowledge about chestnuts in general still lags behind considerably. “If consumers knew what chestnuts are all about, there would be the same demand as there is for walnuts or macadamia nuts. Maroons are gluten-free and contain many antioxidants that support a healthy diet. Chestnuts are also very interesting for vegans. The chestnuts can gain a foothold in German and foreign cuisine, whether in chestnut soups, as a side dish for roast venison, as a dessert or as a snack from the oven. There is no limit to the possibilities.”


The packaging of edible chestnuts from Turkey

Chestnuts
Together with his family, Kaptan operates a vast acreage of approximately 210,000 m² in the Turkish province of Izmir/Ödemis. The family business was founded in 1985 and is now run by the third generation. Germany is one of the most important export countries. “Half of our clientele is basically made up of wholesalers and fruit distributors in Germany. We also have customers in the Middle East, Spain and Italy.”


Roasted chestnuts have been available at Christmas markets for several years

Although the last two countries grow chestnuts themselves, the Turkish products were also very popular there this year. This has everything to do with the local losses. “In Spain and Portugal, crops have dropped by 40 percent. In Italy yields were also less than usual. There were too many hot days and there was not enough irrigation. For us, business was very good.”


Fresh chestnuts are already being exported to Europe in large quantities

Since both the southern European and the Turkish varieties are sold as chestnuts, many consumers believe that these products are the same. But that is by no means the case, Kaptan says. “There are many sweet chestnuts marketed as chestnuts. In contrast to the sweet chestnuts, our main varieties Sekerci and Kemer are easy peelable, vein-free and they are sweeter. What's more, our chestnuts have a Global Gap certification: this means that production safety is ensured by strict quality control. This guarantees the highest quality of chestnuts.”


Chestnut trees in the Turkish plantation of the company EGE Kaptan

Representation at fairs
With regard to the aforementioned health trend and the great potential in Germany and Europe, Kaptan looks to the future with great expectations. He likes to refer to the development of the sweet chestnut. Because in the past, this chestnut served as a staple food and was also often dubbed ‘the bread of the common man’ or ‘potatoes for the poor’. “At the last Anuga [trade fair] we were the only manufacturer of fresh chestnuts there. There were visitors who were very interested in our product. The enthusiasm for and interest in our chestnuts was very great, so the Anuga was a real success for us.”


Owner Tahir Kaptan in front of his stand at the Anuga Fair in Cologne

For more information:
EGE Kaptan GmbH
Inh. Tahir Kaptan
Telefon: +49(0)421 57799105
Postanschrift: Süleyman Demirel 
Mah. 1030 Sok. No. 16/5 Ödemis/Izmir


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