The Aegean region is considered the home of the earliest European civilization. Since the Aegean is one of few northern routes to the Mediterranean, it has been extremely important as a trading area and trade route. Geographically, the Aegean coasts are characterized by lush forests and mountainous soil of terra rossa and rendzina. This unique region contains about 30% of the country’s agricultural wealth, which rests on the production of several export crops, including tobacco, cotton, high-quality grapes, wine, olives, figs, honey, wheat, assorted vegetables, herbs and spices. This time of year is when these crops are in abundance and are at the peak of harvest. 

Some of the most exciting aspects of my jobs are the excursions and field trips I have the pleasure of embarking on. Over the course of my trip I visited some of our partners’ farms, plantations and factories, which are producing preserved vegetables. Summers here in Turkey are alive with crops and wildlife, from the soothing hum of a grasshopper (I learned how to identify three different kinds of grasshopper from their noises by the help of an experienced wise R&D engineer), to the sheer awe of witnessing hardworking ants scavenging for food . It was amazing to see how agriculture contributes to rural development and assists in the sustainability of the food supply chain by workers.  

How could we measure and report progress to management of the organization and across the broader organization?

Although my questions may not have been answered concisely during my trip, I came away with several takeaways regarding creating a sustainable food supply chain:

1.     Create safer, healthier products in order to meet the market’s demands and guarantee that consumers have access to nutritious food and pertinent information about what they are buying

2.     Defend and conserve natural resources such as soil, water and biodiversity and sustain resources for growing food

3.     Maintain high standards of environmental performance by reducing energy consumption, minimizing resource inputs and using renewable energy wherever possible

4.     Ensure a safe working environment and preserve social welfare and training for all employees involved in the process

Due to the pressure from a variety of stakeholders, including consumers, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), local communities, public and governmental officials, more and more companies are committed to implementing corporate social responsibility (CSR) management systems across the whole supply chain. As my trip comes to an end and I prepare to return to the United States, I take with me a new outlook on furthering the sustainable food sourcing process, and hope to share my findings with our clients. 

Especially now, the global food supply chain is effected by pressure from the impacts of climate change, population increase, a growing demand for limited resources, and changing diets. Consumers are also increasingly seeking reassurance that businesses are managing their supply chains sustainably. There is therefore a growing realization across food and drink companies that building a secure and sustainable supply chain not only makes good business sense, but also has the potential to bring with it a number of benefits for a company that is seen to be acting in line with wider stakeholder and societal interests. Moreover, building a more resilient supply chain will bring competitive advantage by managing the impact of change. It will stimulate innovation, increase productivity and will meet customer demands.​


Today, the world as we know it is facing dramatic climate change, the destruction of ecosystems and diminishing natural resources. Social and economic inequity remains an issue for countries and societies. The bright spot is that there has been a growing emphasis worldwide on sustainable development. Sustainable ingredients are becoming prominent in the food industry. Changing market dynamics are also increasing the importance of sustainability efforts: Fortunately, younger consumers, such as the millennial generation, are becoming more environmentally conscious and are demanding sustainable products and practices, even willing to pay more to get them. Because of diminishing resources and the increased demand for sustainable products, more and more companies are exploring how to identify, assess, and monitor supplier-related social issues and practices. 

Turkish Holiday: Sustainable Sourcing of Food Ingredients

By Fergie (Fergül) Kuzucuoğlu

This year, I decided to mix business with pleasure and combine a routine business trip with a relaxing summer holiday. Presently, I am enjoying the clear waters and white sands of Turkey by the Aegean Sea. The water is clear and the sand is white, and this environment is the perfect place to reflect on the wonders of nature, which make such an economic impact on this beautiful country. 

 August 4, 2017

As I realized during my visit in Turkey, agriculture has a significant impact on the food supply chain and ensuring the health and welfare of people and the environment in the region is just as important. During my visit, though I am often representing companies and their practices, I found myself asking some questions, this time on behalf of other side of the trade, the consumers. Some of them included:

What is required to produce the product?

Who are potential suppliers for different customer base and what do we know about them?

What is the action plan and what is required to implement the action plan with suppliers?

What are the opportunities to identify and provide as the greatest benefit?

We at AFK Strategies offer our customers a step-by-step process to help food and drink manufacturing businesses of all sizes get started on this sustainable sourcing journey together. We aim to help identify, prioritize and manage upstream supply chain risks as part of a more strategic approach towards supply chain sustainability. If your company is ready to protect and support our environment, contact AFK Strategies for more information.

AFK Strategies Inc. is a boutique strategic advisory and business development company that is committed to serving our partners as their associates in China, Turkey, and the United States. AFK consulting services help companies identify and solve their business challenges via an extensive global expertise. The company assists the growth of small and medium sized enterprises (SME’s) in the United States at the local level, while at the same time aiding the growth of U.S. companies in China and Turkey. The services encompass three key areas: business development, supply chain management and brand development. ContactAFK Strategies Inc. to learn more.

The Aegean region is considered the home of the earliest European civilization. Since the Aegean is one of few northern routes to the Mediterranean, it has been extremely important as a trading area and trade route. Geographically, the Aegean coasts are characterized by lush forests and mountainous soil of terra rossa and rendzina. This unique region contains about 30% of the country’s agricultural wealth, which rests on the production of several export crops, including tobacco, cotton, high-quality grapes, wine, olives, figs, honey, wheat, assorted vegetables, herbs and spices. This time of year is when these crops are in abundance and are at the peak of harvest. 

AFK STRATEGIES INC.