US spice giant McCormick & Co. has told just-food that it wants to build a branded herbs and spices category in Turkey through its venture with Yildiz Holding, the owner of local food group Ulker.

The venture, first announced last week, is McCormick's first move into Turkey's retail channel. The company has sold condiments and snacks seasonings to industrial and foodservice customers in Turkey since 1996 through a venture with local firm Kutas.

However, Marylene Jumel, director for communications and change management in McCormick's markets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said the company had fresh ambitions for the Turkish market.

"Today, the Turkish herbs and spices market consists mainly in the traditional bulk herbs and spices offering available in local markets and small retail shops. There is no strong branded offer yet," Jumel said.

"With the new venture, we want to provide Turkish retail consumers with a high quality branded herbs and spices range that will meet local retail demand and taste and will be widely distributed across the country."

Jumel could not be drawn on which particular products the venture, in which McCormick and Yildiz Holding will each own a 50% stake, would sell, insisting she "could not be more specific at this stage".

However, Jumel maintained that Turkey was a "promising market" for herbs and spices and was key to McCormick's strategy of growth in Europe.

This partnership with Yildiz Holding is a tremendous opportunity for us to pursue our growth strategy in Europe and participate in the rapid growth of the Turkish market. We believe that Turkey is a promising market for the herbs and spices category where we intend to become the leading player with the joint venture," Jumel said.