As of Today, Gurme212 Co-Founder Askin is the managing director of company since 2012. Askin was born in Ankara in 1979, to parents that were teachers. He graduated from TED Ankara College, Ataturk Anatolian High School, METU Uni (ODTU) Civil Engineering Civil Eng 2001, Hacettepe Uni MBA 2003. When Askin was working for Nokia in 2009 when he visited a COOP shop in Stockholm city center (old town) when he saw a 100gr sun dried tomato pouch on the shelf for the price of 4.4 euro per piece.He calculated that 1 kg is 44 euro, he then called his cousin Aydin and asked cost of fresh tomatoes. They made a rough cost of 1kg sun dried tomatoes which was 1 euro. Then he sees the potential of the 1 euro cost of product comes to shelve with a 44 times added value. Of course the calculation was wrong but it was too late. He was poisoned already. His dream now dream was to build a tomato factory.
He left his telecom & technology professional career in 2013 and invested in 5 food companies with his investors from Northern Ireland, Germany and USA. EkoFood, Gurme212, EmoFood, Gurme212 USA and Gurme212 Europe. First years were really tough but later on he learned how to do it, whom to work with and whom to sell to!
Gurme212 is founded in Istanbul in 2012 as an online sales company after mother factory EkoFood established in Akhisar in 2010. Co-Founders were Ozge (CEO), Nermin(CFO), Yildirim (CTO-Technical Consultant) and Askin (Farmer & Producer). In 2012 the e commerce volume of Turkey was much lower when it is compared with 2019 where there are now 39.3 million active users and 11.5 billion USD. The web site name was gurme212.com where there are 65 suppliers with more than 1500 SKUs in addition to sun dried tomatoes from EkoFood that Askin & his partners produce. Although gurme212.com reached 2000 customers and were one of top 5 gourmet food online seller in Turkey, it was impossible to survive with high opex costs. Then Ozge decided to move her professional career as a manager, Nermin built the factory and #1 gourmet olive oil brand Ovilo (Nermin Hanim) in Altinoluk, Edremit, Yildirim set up 212Data IT Consultant company who serves the biggest e commerce companies in Turkey setting up marketplace.
Later on Askin moved from Istanbul to Izmir, focused on Gurme212 brand, product recipes, organic farming and production technologies. Gurme212 widen it’s range during this period, re-branded (change logo from green to today’s black & gold elite concept), and export countries grow up to 25 worldwide from Canada to Australia. Gurme212 built an own canned factory in 2018 in Akhisar called EmoFood next to EkoFood. The factory has British BRC AA qualification in addition to USDA, EU, TR organic NON GMO certifications , Helal and Kosher. Gurme212 has social the corporate responsibility certification from SEDEX with 4-pillar.
212 is the phone extensioncode of New York(Manhattan) and Istanbul (European Side) which symbolizes that our gourmet love is full of ENERGY, our passion comes from our GLOBAL existence and DIVERSITY & INNOVATION of different cultures and different taste’s of world. These cities also symbolizes the same feeling compared with other cities in the world. You can meet with different nationalities, different food and different concepts due to the metropolitan identity. There’s nowhere else like New York – yet there’s also nowhere like Istanbul! Though they have different sensibilities, when you’re there, there’s nowhere else you’d rather be.
According to Hotel Buyukkeban in Istanbul, New York and Istanbul: 10 Surprising Things They Have in Common
Istanbul sits on the same latitude as two great North American cities: New York and Chicago. As a world-level metropolis in its own right and the seat of not one but four historical empires, you’d be forgiven for thinking Istanbul is the new Gotham! So it’s no wonder people often compare Turkey’s most popular city with the Big Apple – here are the top ten reasons why:
An International Scene
With a population of almost 14 million people, Istanbul has rapidly become an international city more than ever before. Featuring a European side to compliment the Asian, it attracts an enormous amount of tourists every year, with a figure exceeding 10 million in 2013. Like NYC, Istanbul boasts an international feel combined with exceptional sights to see and a reputation for outstanding hospitality.
Comparable Transit Systems
A strong parallel is between the two cities’ transit systems. Istanbul’s soon-to-be 775 km of rail makes it a close rival to New York City’s 800 km. There are trains within walking distance from just about everywhere that allow for easy access to all districts.
The average age of Istanbul’s population – just 23 years old – keeps the city in forward motion. With the start-up scene getting stronger, Istanbul is called the “Digital Bosphorus,” attracting young entrepreneurs with fresh ideas. Like New York, innovation is at a constant high.
Creativity and Culture
Like NYC, Istanbul attracts artists from all over the world. Whether the plastic or performing arts, both cities are a mecca for creativity and culture, with galleries and theatres among the top attractions for residents and visitors alike.
New York City has the Hudson and the East River, Istanbul has the Bosphorus. No matter what side of the city you’re on, sunsets and rises are always astounding when seen from any river, making both cities ideal for early evening or morning views.
New York was known as New Amsterdam prior to the British seizing control from the Dutch in 1674, and Nouvelle-Angoulême prior to that. Istanbul was renamed in 1923, having been named Constantinople since 330 A.D. after Roman Emperor Constantine, prior to which it had been referred to as Byzantium after its founding in 660 B.C.E.
A Vibrant Restaurant Scene
Foodies descend in droves to New York City to sample the great restaurants that spring from the international population. Istanbul is rapidly gaining the same reputation, with the variety of authentic Turkish cuisines melding along with new creations from leading top chefs.
A Great Street Scene
Both cities can brag about great street scenes, sharing the idea of fresh produce markets, busy sidewalk cafes for people-watching, and vibrant shopping areas such as the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul and New York’s many street fairs and festivals.
Growing Investment Opportunities
With New York’s infrastructure well in place and that of Istanbul rapidly growing, both cities offer growing investment opportunities. With affordable prices and an eye towards growth, Istanbul is reminiscent of NYC in the early 1980’s when the same kind of energy was on the rise.
It’s the Vibe
There’s nowhere else like New York – yet there’s also nowhere like Istanbul! Though they have different sensibilities, when you’re there, there’s nowhere else you’d rather be. What are you waiting for?
Gurme212 has 3 sites in Akhisar. One is Gurme212’s frozen & chilled product factory called EkoFood, 11000m2 and 4000m2 closed area. Second one is Gurme212’s canned & ambient food factory with pastorization and sterilization abilities in addition to packing jars, tins , cans, pouches, doypack, PP Trays and other packing options. Third one is Gurme212’s logistics center which is 15 000m2 capacity where we use only 3000-4000 m2 at this moment.
All facilities are built as per global HACCP norms (explained below) and all of them BRC certified.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) is a trade association for the UK food retail industry created in 1992. The BRC has published standards for best practices for the food and manufacturing industries for two decades, and also publishes the On-Pack recycling standards for the UK.
With rapidly growing expectations from regulators, consumers, and retail outlets, companies must be more proactive in their approach to food safety practices. Food safety is of critical importance when working at any stage of the food supply chain to protect consumers, meet customer requirements, and to safeguard your brand. This is most important for Gurme212 products. They are BRC certified which assures safety of the product you consume. #eatsafe #livesafe
Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) is an internationally recognized method of identifying and managing food safety related risk and, when central to an active food safety program, can provide your customers, the public, and regulatory agencies assurance that a food safety program is well managed.
HACCP is a management system in which food safety is addressed through the analysis and control of biological, chemical, and physical hazards from raw material production, procurement and handling, to manufacturing, distribution and consumption of the finished product. HACCP system used in all Gurme212 facilities.
Today, many of the world’s best manufacturers and vendors like Gurme212 use the system as a basis for their food safety management programs and for compliance with GFSI audit schemes.
Through analysis of hazards and where they can occur, Gurme212 experienced HACCP consultants (>30 years experience in food industry) helps implement systems and procedures to minimize risk in Gurme212 facilities.
A food safety program, however, does not just stop with HACCP. To be effective, prerequisite programs such as pest control, traceability & recall, hygiene and sanitation need to be developed and implemented. Additionally, the issue of ensuring that suppliers and distributors also have a food safety program needs to be addressed through development of ingredient specifications and a vendor assurance system.
Gurme212 is not only use this system for his facilities and production teams but also during audit of his farmers, suppliers by making risk assessments and on site audits. For example for a herb to be used in Gurme212 factory , either herb supplier has to have BRC certification or Gurme212 food engineers audit the herb factory to make sure that herb can be used in our products safely for our customers use.
The market researches show that the demand for Halal products is increasing in the world also in Turkey. As Gurme212, we are following these trends carefully and update ourselves.
The term halal is particularly associated with Islamic dietary laws. It is an Arabic word that can be translated as “permissible or lawful”. Several food companies offer halal processed foods and products, including halal foie gras, spring rolls, chicken nuggets, ravioli, lasagna, pizza, and baby food. Halal ready meals are a growing consumer market for Muslims in Britain and America where Gurme212 has offices in both countries and are offered by an increasing number of retailers. Vegetarian cuisine is halal if it does not contain alcohol.
In Gurme212, We are selecting special ingredients to add our halal products for staying at Halal side. For example we supply vineger for using our pickles, that is not containing alcohol.
Another common example of haram (non-halal) food is pork. While pork is the only meat that categorically may not be consumed by Muslims (the Quran forbids it, Sura 2:173 and 16:115) other foods, not in a state of purity are also considered haram. The criteria for non-pork items include their source, the cause of the animal’s death, and how it was processed. Also in our facilities we have not any additive which is animal oriented. Because if you will use any animal (only the allowed animals) origined raw material, you have to prove the slaugthering was Halal.
Which products are KOSHER?
Kosher foods are those that conform to the Jewish dietary regulations of kashrut (dietary law), primarily derived from Leviticus and Deuteronomy. As Gurme212, we are aiming to present healthy and safe foods according every different standard. Kosher is one of these standards.
If a product is kosher, all the ingredients (oils, herbs, vinegar, etc.) of it must be kosher. It should be produced after the approval of a Rabbi. Staying kosher is as hard as getting a kosher certificate. Special Rabbi who have a knowledge of food production, visits our facilities regularly and checks our flow charts and raw materials if they are suitable for the system or not. These audits might be done up to four in a year. We work with Starkey kosher certification since 2012.
There are three main kosher food categories Meat, Dairy and Pareve for foods that are not meat or dairy, including fish, eggs, and plant-based foods.
According to kosher tradition, any food categorized as meat may never be served or eaten at the same meal as a dairy product.
Furthermore, all utensils and equipment used to process and clean meat and dairy must be kept separate — even down to the sinks in which they’re washed. Although Gurme212 has not any meat and dairy processing, we use special procedures to prevent any kind of cross contaminations.
After eating meat, you must wait for a designated amount of time before consuming any dairy product. The particular length of time varies among different Jewish customs but is usually between one and six hours.
Pareve food items are considered neutral and may be eaten alongside either meat or dairy. However, if a pareve food item is prepared or processed using any equipment used to process meat or dairy, it may be reclassified as meat, dairy, or non-kosher. There is a restricted rules about using the Kosher Logo on the labels. It is well inspected process to make a label on kosher product. If there is a kosher logo behind the Gurme212 brand, it means we are thorougly obey the Kosher systematic.
How to get EU ORGANIC?
Since Gurme212 has offices around the world as we mentioned before, we are interested in the food regulations and systems of each country. But the being organic is a little different. Organic food is the product of a farming system which avoids the use of man-made fertilisers, pesticides; growth regulators and livestock feed additives. Irradiation and the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or products produced from or by GMOs are generally prohibited by organic legislation. Organic certification has different rules for each country. EU Certification enables your organic products to be commercialised within the European Union. In order to obtain the green EU logo and the mention “organic”, your products must be certified by a certification body approved by the competent authorities. Compliance with the EU organic regulations of Gurme212 has approved as processor. On the other hand, farmers (as a producer) have to comply EU organic certification. From seed to plant, from plant to fruit, you should save the organic chain to achive organic product.
What is special with USDA ORGANIC?
If you want to sell Organic Products to the USA, you have to obey some rules while producing them. The National Organic Program (NOP) develops these rules & regulations for the production, handling, labeling, and enforcement of all USDA organic products. This process, referred to as rulemaking, involves input from the National Organic Standards Board and the public. When we sent the organic products to our Gurme212 New Jersey warehouses, our NOP certificate is examined on the customs. Same as the EU organic, You have to use all raw materials, ingredients organic, keep them seperate from any other conventional products on all logistics and production processes.
Big or developing companies have to obey some rules related to labor rights and social and environmental responsibilities. Gurme212 has a system that regulates these manners called Smeta 4 Pillar (Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit) and we are well implementing these rules for us (our workers and the environment that we live) first and we consider it globally.
SMETA is an audit methodology, providing a compilation of best practice ethical audit techniques. It is designed to help auditors conduct high quality audits that encompass all aspects of responsible business practice, covering Sedex’s four pillars of Labour, Health and Safety, Environment and Business Ethics.
We try to teach this system to all our supply chain, from farmers to packaging suppliers, to maintenance services. We think that the world will be better only if everybody thinks like Gurme212.
GURME212 GLOBAL OFFICES
In addition to Turkey, Gurme212 has two global sales and distribution offices in New Jersey (USA) and Bremen (Germany). They are registered companies called Gurme212 USA corporation and Gurme212 Europe GmbH.
Our main Retail Brand is Gurme212 and Gourmet212.‘Gurme’ word means ‘Gourmet’ in Turkish. Today Gurme212 brand is being used mosthly for our ethnic and canned products.
The broad definition of gourmet is a person who has a refined taste, who enjoys high quality, well-prepared food. Our co-founder Askin has travelled to 53 countries worldwide as of 2019. By using the opportunity working as a global account manager for telecom giants (Nokia and ZTE), he travelled the World and visited the best restaurants in each city he visited with his team.
One source says that Gourmet originates from the French word ‘gourmand’, which refers to an expert wine-taster. The definiton has also been said to refer to a ‘connoisseur of good food’ or one with a ‘discerning palate’. As interesting as the word’s etymology is, the word seems to define a person, and not a dish.
During high school at Ataturk Anatolian High School in Ankara, Turkey, Askin’s school friend’s Naci,Cagri, Olgac, Irem,Artun,Emre purchased a book called ‘Restaurants and Cafe’s of Ankara’ in 1996. They visited 119 restaurants in 1996-1997 , every week they gathered twice, Wednesdays and Saturday’s. During their visit 7 of them was closed. Askin could not attend Wednesdays since he has not got cash to pay the bills. He was hardly handling with Saturdays with his friends help. Ankara is the capital of Turkey where all embassies are located. It allows to find different international restaurants from Japanese to Korean. Taste is the perception produced or stimulated when a substance in the mouth reacts chemically with taste receptor cells located on taste buds in the oral cavity, mostly on the tongue. It is clear that Askin’s taste receptors developed in his childhood and later on during his travelling of the world.
You may have noticed the increasing use of the adjective ‘gourmet’ on the menu of just about any restaurant you walk into. From pizzas to burgers, to the humble ol’ sandwich, they all seem to get spruced up by slapping this promising label on to the menu description. But does this wordy addition have any actual bearing on what you’re eating? In Gurme212 products, you will feel that you are eating something ‘gourmet’, natural and tasty as home made. Strong tastes coming from the seed selection where the most important source of kitchen, selected seeds and natural flavor.
Today Gourmet is being used for french customers in Canada,Quebec, France and Belgium in French label.
Slow Food movement started in Italy in the 1980s, this movement aims to highlight the problems with fast food and offer up a healthier, more satisfying alternative. In 2000s, the gourmet food started to be popular in different kitchens worldwides. People started to give more importance of what they eating including the story of product and ingredients. What I am eating? What herbs, which oil used? What kind of meat is that? This questions and these trend developed the demand for gourmet foods globally.
Today Delimatoes is being used for our 1kg pizza topping range and main stream product launches.
What does Delimatoes refer to?
Delimatoes name founded by our Co-Founder in Gurme212 Europe, Bashar. Bashar is a great chef, great family man and good friend. He merged the Words ‘deli’ and ‘tomatoes’ “Deli” is short for “Delicatessen,” which originally referred to fine foods (delicacies) and/or the store that sold them: the corner shop that specialized in imported meats & cheeses, for example. These days a deli (in the U.S. anyway) is typically a small local market that makes & sells sandwiches.
Today Teo’s Farm is being used for our canned range as a CHEF brand in Turkey. In almost all 5star hotels in Turkey, this brand is known by turkish Chef symbolizing the quality in a canned food.
What does Teo’s Farm refer to?
Teo is the 7 year old son of our Co-Founder Askin. Since Gurme212 make it’s own farming of 10 000 tons of fresh tomatoes and 1500 tons of peppers, we call our farms Teo’s Farm.