Press "Enter" to skip to content

Israel’s war on Gaza, boycotts alter consumer preferences in Türkiye

Amid the raging Israeli war on Gaza, which has caused a dire humanitarian situation in the besieged enclave, the surge in boycott calls against firms perceived to be tied to Israel has increased in many Muslim-majority countries, including Türkiye.

With consumers taking a strong stance against some international firms, the shift in consumer purchasing preferences has been observed in Türkiye as well.

Particularly, according to industry representatives, the boycott campaigns have resulted in decreasing demand for some products in the food and beverage sector.

Ramazan Bingöl, head of the All Restaurants, Diners and Suppliers Association (TÜRES), told Anadolu Agency (AA) on Sunday that carbonated beverage brands facing protest and boycott campaigns have seen a significant drop in sales.

Bingöl mentioned that many restaurant owners voluntarily decided not to sell these carbonated beverages following the severe attacks in the Gaza Strip.

“My observation right now is that half of the restaurants and eateries do not sell fizzy drinks that are among the boycotted products,” he said.

However, this situation has not negatively impacted the businesses’ revenue, as consumers opt for alternative products such as sherbet and ayran.

He also expressed that the majority of customers respect the decision of the businesses not to sell the carbonated beverages.

“Compared to before Oct. 7, monthly sales of carbonated beverages in the food and beverage sector have decreased by around 20%,” he further said.

“This includes supermarkets, restaurants and hotels. Sales of carbonated beverages in restaurants and eateries have decreased by more than 50%,” he added.

Furthermore, he opined that awareness of boycotts “needs to be kept alive” while highlighting the importance of providing alternative products in this regard.

“Especially concerning the boycott issue, we have traditional beverages that are excellent alternatives to carbonated drinks. We should promote our options such as sherbet, ayran and Turkish coffee more and make them more preferred,” Bingöl maintained.

Mehmet Bülent Deniz, head of the Consumer Union Federation (TBF), similarly addressed the issue and said they have called on 34 consumer organizations from 18 countries not to remain silent against millions of people being subjected to genocide.

Deniz emphasized that as in the rest of the world, there has been a strong reaction in Türkiye against the humanitarian tragedy.

“Since Oct. 7, 2023, our people have wanted to develop a consumer boycott by not buying the brands and products of countries supporting this genocide, especially Israel. Through research and examination of many brands and products circulated on social media, mostly American and Israeli brands, it has been determined that they are national brands and products within our economy,” he explained.

“In the boycott to be conducted by activating the consumer’s power coming from consumption, it is necessary to correctly determine the nationality of the brand and product to be boycotted,” he said.

He went on to emphasize the effects of the boycott and how it should be conducted effectively to avoid harming the local economy.

“Moreover, various conditions should be considered, such as the availability of another product option that can be substituted for that product, the suitability of the boycott to be effectively implemented and the consideration of various conditions such as employment and local capital to not being harmed within the scope of boycott,” he explained.

In addition, Deniz also stated that they are continuing their “Not Our Ammunition” boycott campaign launched by the Consumer Union Federation.

“We receive news of intense participation in the boycott not only in Türkiye, but also from Middle Eastern and African countries, and Turkic states,” Deniz said.

“We understand the effectiveness of the boycott from the company’s balance sheets. The power of the boycott is understood from the change in the price tags of boycotted products on the shelves of markets,” he noted.

He also noted he did not agree with comments regarding the boycott being “unsustainable,” while pointing to this perception pushed forward by those brands through content circulating on social media.

Along with boycott campaigns, since the beginning of the conflict in October, the volume of trade between Israel and Türkiye has been dropping, with significant decreases in the exports of Turkish companies to Israel when compared to September 2023, recent data showed.

More from BusinessMore posts in Business »

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *