x0x Turkish-German fast-food the doner kebap goes upscale
- x0x Turkish-German fast-food the doner kebap goes upscale
By Jacob Comenetz February 11, 2009, 17:04
Since its introduction by Turkish immigrants in
West Berlin in the early 1970s, the doner kebap
has developed into a fast-food staple across
Germany and other parts of Europe. New quality
rules will protect consumers but raise doner
prices at the same time. Dner-lovers everywhere,
take note: the days of the ultra-cheap
Turkish-German sandwich may be numbered. Dner
"In Germany today, 15,000 stands sell the doner
kebap, while in Berlin alone it's 1,100."
Occasional spoiled meat scandals and sheer
oversupply had driven prices down to one euro in
some parts of Berlin, Europes doner capital, in
recent years, though prices tend to be higher
elsewhere. A new quality label is being developed
that would guarantee the quality of the doner
meat. But the new standards will also serve to
raise the price of the sandwich. Related Articles
"With the economy in the shape its in, this cant
be good news for doner fans."
The initiative to create the new seal of quality
was spearheaded by members of the Association of
Turkish Dner Producers in Europe, at the
first-ever World Dner Conference, which just
concluded in Turkey. The conference brought
together 140 doner producers from 16 countries.
Conference attendee and deputy director of the
association Mehmet Cem said that more quality
assurance was needed to protect consumers as well
as the industry.
We need to establish more trust with our
customers, Cem told the Berlin tabloid B.Z. The
spoiled meat scandal of 2008 did a lot of damage.
The new quality assurance program should be
implemented by the end of the year. Then the
doner quality will be assured from the producer
through to the consumer, Cem said.
In addition to the more rigorous quality
standards, the international doner conference
developed a few other plans. Dner producer should
be recognized as an official job description, and
February 1 should become the International Dner
Day. The conference is scheduled to become an
Despite its image as a small-scale, low-revenue
business, the doner meat production is in fact a
major industry in Germany and Europe. The 350
European doner producers sell 3.5 billion euros
worth of meat per year, said Cem of the
Association of Turkish Dner Producers. In Germany
alone, this amounts to 400 tons per day.
Though doner kebap has become a Europe-wide
phenomenon, the German-Turkish sandwich that began
the craze was first sold by Mahmut Aygun, a Turkish
immigrant to Berlin, in 1971.
Aygun, who died three weeks ago at the age of 87,
failed to patent the product, and so did not cash
in on the meteoric rise of the sandwich.
Still, it probably gave him satisfaction to see
the popularity of the doner. In Germany today,
15,000 stands sell the doner kebap, while in
Berlin its 1,100.
Though higher quality standards may help to
improve consumer confidence in the doner, the
higher prices may also contribute to decreased
Erick Feijoo, a 25-year-old government affairs
consultant in Washington, D.C. and fan of the
doner, expressed disappointment over the pending
hike in prices to at least 3 euros.
Its sad to see doner prices in Berlin rise to
these levels. This will only motivate me to seek
out other snacks, he said.