Mapping the Türkiye Agri-Food Ecosystem 2022 / Part II-Türkiye Food Ecosystem

Food has a vital role in our daily lives. All of us, 7,7 billion and counting make decisions about the food we consume every day. What we consume has a big impact on our health and environment. In light of this, there is a direct connection between diet, environment, and health. As Kök Projekt, we are fascinated by this connection and how it affects the globe.  Thus, we follow the trends in the food sector, prepare reports, and create databases. 

When we created our first Türkiye’s Food Ecosystem Map 2020, we aimed to shed light on the country’s food ecosystem and make startups more visible. 

Our curiosity about this living ecosystem encouraged us to create the Türkiye Food Ecosystem Map Version 2021 and now, version 2022. Every year we seek to prepare a bigger map, and excitingly, Türkiye’s food ecosystem is growing.

Is it possible to make our plates more sustainable, and resilient and create an inclusive food system?

Today, the famous prediction of T.R Malthous is no longer valid. We managed to provide food for a world population that has more than doubled over the past 50 years. However, our food system is in trouble. Although the world produces enough food, the number of undernourished people has been rising since 2014. Approximately two billion people are overweight or obese resulting in severe health problems. Climate change is threatening our food production by causing unprecedented heat waves, droughts, and record-breaking floods. Moreover, our relationship with our food is not healthy, we waste ⅓ of all food produced for human consumption.


Turkey, with its abundant high-quality products, strategic location at the crossroads of trade routes, as well as notable kitchen, is a food tradition and innovation country. Moreover, Türkiye is the top producer of hazelnuts, apricots, figs, cherries, and quinces. Despite the positive qualities of our food sector, we also have many challenges. These problems may have many solutions and one of them is technology. Innovative technologies can help us make our food system more sustainable, resilient, and inclusive.  We believe that startups can solve some of our food system’s biggest problems. Combined with the expertise of corporates, entrepreneurship may further help create a sustainable future for food systems. Therefore, startups, corporate companies, and investors are vital players in a sustainable ecosystem. 

Thus, this map acts as an overview of the Türkiye food ecosystem outlining startups, investors, and corporate companies.

Building the Map



As Kök Projekt, we are an agri-food startup accelerator and an innovation partner for the food, agriculture, and water sector companies. We conduct research, prepare reports, and follow agri-food ecosystem dynamics. As we began to create our map, we commenced from our startup databases for Turkey.  The food startup ecosystem is a living organism. Each year there are new kids in the sector. We categorized the teams, looked for their primary purpose or value proposition, then organized them accordingly. Eventually, we placed them into 23 categories and listed them on our map. 


When we looked at the categories, 

Food Service Platforms/Restaurant Management/Payment Services, and CPG immediately stand out as the leading categories in Turkey. CPG has always been an exciting category for Türkiye’s Food Ecosystem, and with Maide Mutfak, we’re happy to host various exciting startups at our food incubation center in Istanbul. There is a proliferation of startups that have developed products that aim to improve human health. Plant-based products, drinks, and foods rich in probiotics and other functional ingredients such as algae and collagen are rising. E-Commerce platforms and Delivery are other shining categories. The coronavirus pandemic triggers the demand for healthy food and E-Commerce platforms. These trends are likely to stay here. Additionally, startups with a great vision for waste reduction become more significant. If food waste could be a country, it would be the third largest greenhouse gas emitter, after the United States and China (1). Startups, focusing on food waste, operate in a variety of fields, including biotechnology, upcycling, inventory optimization/food redistribution, biotech, holistic waste management, and biodegradable packaging. On our map, you’ll find a lot more categories.

In our next step, we worked closely with Patent Effect. This team supports technology-driven companies and research institutes to unleash the power of patents for creating an impact on their innovation journey. We define the Patentpreneurs: Startups who have at least one patent/utility model application. We see an increase in the number of patentpreneurs every year. 

While agri-food sectors are responsible for around 30% of total greenhouse gas emissions, they are also highly vulnerable to climate change. Therefore we need more sustainable food systems. Hopefully, consumers also want more sustainable food options. According to a recent report from Purdue University’s Center for Food Demand Analysis and Sustainability, consumers want more sustainable food options (2). We believe each section in our map will grow in the future as we need more sustainable solutions for mitigation and adaptation to climate change.

Corporates: Key Players of the Sector

Turkey’s potential in the food industry is enormous. As a result, our country is home to numerous national and international businesses. We, at Kök Projekt, serve as a partner in innovation for businesses in the food, agricultural, and water sectors. So, we continuously monitor them and collaborate with them.

In recent years, private companies have also become active supporters of the startup ecosystem. Many corporate firms are diving into the startup ecosystem and getting involved with entrepreneurs, and startup companies. They organize and sponsor events, and support incubator and accelerator programs to reap the benefits of innovation. Hence in our map, we have categorized corporate firms into four sections as well. The list includes Food Production and Manufacturing, CPG, Retail, and Food Management and Services.


Investors play an important role in the startup world. According to CB Insights, 38% of startups fail because they ran out of cash/failed to raise capital (3). In Turkey, Entrepreneurs are lucky to have so many resources and to operate in a country, with more than 80 million people which is a perfect place to test their products. However, without capital, it is not easy to create and sustain a company. Today, when we look at the Türkiye food ecosystem there is a rising number of VC, investors, and private equity firms focusing on the food sector. Recently, venture capital investments have skyrocketed in Turkey, and numerous worldwide success stories have attracted media attention. In the food sector, we have even a decacorn. With a valuation of 11.8 billion Getir became the second decacorn of Türkiye(4).

Even if investors have had to contend with a lot over the last year, and the odds of a worldwide recession are rising, we stay hopeful and believe that the future of foodtech is bright. Thus we will see more investments in the coming years.

As always, this is not an exhaustive map of Türkiye’s Food Ecosystem, and we’re constantly working to improve our maps. You can reach our 2022 Türkiye Food Ecosystem Map Startups & Corporates here.

Below is an overview of each category

Alternative Proteins: Startups disrupting food production. Alternative proteins are proteins that derive from non-animal resources. In this category, we have five sub-categories featuring plant-based, cultivated, fermentation, algae, and insect-based proteins.

Food Service Platforms/Restaurant Management/ Payment Services: Startups reinventing the restaurant industry, including restaurant management platforms and payment services.

CPG-Performance Foods/Nutrition: Startups focus on healthy eating with their new types of meals in the form of bars or powders. Most of them offer transparent ingredients with vegan options.

CPG-Plant Based: Startups developing food products based on plants. Vegan products, including sauces, seasonings, and healthy nutrition options.

CPG-Animal Based: Startups developing food products based on animals by respecting animal welfare.

CPG-Beverages: Startups reinventing drinks. Including healthier lifestyle drinks, and sustainable coffee options.

CPG-Snacks: Startups that take snacking to the next level with transparent and healthy ingredients.

CPG-Infant Nutrition: Startups reinventing infant food with more nutritious options.

Functional Foods: Startups focus on foods that offer health benefits beyond their nutritional value.

Marketplace/E-Commerce: Startups working in e-commerce marketplaces for consumers. Including platforms enabling direct access from producers to consumers.

Waste Management: According to FAO, 1/3 of all food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted. Food waste is a big challenge for the food industry. In this category, we put startups working on diminishing food waste, including solutions that extend shelf life.

Food Protection/Packaging: Startups working on sustainable packaging options.

Coaching-Recipes/Recommendations: Startups helping customers in their search for good recipes or nutrition recommendations. It also includes startups providing quality information on food products and transparency.

Meal Kits: Startups regularly deliver to their customers. Including weight-loss kits, options, ingredients, or ready-to-cook kits to make meals at home.

Cloud Kitchen: Startups managing kitchens, food production facilities without a physical restaurant space, and producing foods for customers. Maide Mutfak is one of them and it is our venture. Maide Mutfak operates as a holistic cloud kitchen and aims to empower women to become the successful entrepreneurs that they are destined to be. As Kök Projekt we are passionate about food and we are physically engaged with it with our venture Maide Mutfak.

Pet Food: Startups reinventing pet food with more nutritious options.

Microgreens: Startups working on microgreens to provide healthier nutrition for their customers. They enable customers to plant their own food in their homes.

Food Concepts: Startups focusing on concept restaurants such as vegan restaurants.

Delivery: Startups offering urgent answers for delivery challenges of the food sector. It includes restaurant delivery, home delivery of drinks, and food, fast delivery, and robotic delivery options. This category hosts Getir, the second decacorn of Türkiye.