Maintaining a healthy lifestyle in Istanbul isn’t actually all that easy. While you might stay active trekking about the city or visiting the gym, there is plenty of delicious temptation out there to make sure you fall short of your health goals, especially when looking for a quick bite.
Natura by Anne might just be the answer you’re looking for. They’re making a noticeable rise in Turkey with their range of tasty, nutritious snacks that are ideal for keeping you on track. We spoke with their founder (and fellow foreigner) Anne Solhaug Tutar to learn more on their business, the process and what we can expect in the near future.
As the founder of Natura by Anne, how did the idea for this concept all come about? What was the inspiration there?
The idea and inspiration came from my own need for something healthy I could bring with me while on the go. When I first moved here almost 2 years ago I couldn’t find anything healthy to snack on between meals. I was working as a health coach, as well as running back and forth between Turkish classes, and nothing in the market fit my requirements of a nourishing, natural and tasty snack. I started making my own snack bars at home, and quickly realized this was something others could benefit from too!
What brought you to Turkey and why start a business here?
Love brought me to Turkey as my husband is Turkish. Coming here I didn’t know the language, and I felt like I had to get creative in order to make a living for myself. I’ve always had a dream of being an entrepreneur, and suddenly all my excuses why not to do it, turned into reasons to do it! Combined with the new found idea of making a snack bar everyone could benefit from, the company was born.
What has the response been like here? What is Turkey’s current “healthy foods” scene like in your opinion?
It’s been absolutely amazing, I had only positive feedback! It feels like Turkey is just starting to pick up on the health food trend we’ve seen other places around the world. More and more people are searching for alternatives to the mass produced, low quality food, and people are getting more educated about what they eat. I’m happy to have made a brand that can show consumers that healthy food can still be tasty and convenient!
Could you tell us a bit about your products in general? Are there any specifically more popular at the local level than compared internationally?
My products come in two sizes and three flavors. I have a chia bar which is a 38 gram product for when you need something filling between meals, and a small chia bite of 10 grams, which is perfect along with your coffee or tea, or when you crave something sweet and don’t want to compromise on your health. They are all made from chia seeds, dried fruit, nuts and spices, and the flavors are chocolate, berry and apple cinnamon. In Turkey chocolate have been the big winner, but internationally I can see that the popularity of the three flavors are more evenly distributed.
What has been the biggest challenge of starting a business as a foreigner in Turkey?
For me the biggest challenge was by far the language barrier. Trying to do business without being able to verbally communicate with partners and customers has been a challenge. Luckily I now have a great partner and team who can cover my back when Turkish language skills are needed. Besides that, a challenge has been to get across the type of quality I require. My standard for quality turned out to be a lot higher than what I could expect, and I’ve had to work hard to find partners who can deliver according to my strict needs.
What is the near future looking like for Natura by Anne? Anything we should expect in the coming months?
In near future you can expect to see my products pop up in more and more locations, as we are in a rapid expansion. We will also do a lot of health events in the coming months. We live and breath the healthy lifestyle, and want to be a part of inspiring and educating others to do the same!
As you know, we’re somewhat of an advice publication for foreigners living in this fine city of ours. Any tips or hidden gems around here that you’d like to share with our readers?
There are so many great, hidden places in this city! I think my best tip would be the restaurant Kydonia in Kuruçeşme. It is without doubt the best fish and meze restaurant I’ve been to in Istanbul. I have weak digestion, which is one of the reasons I have to eat a healthy diet, and this is the only fish place I can leave without feeling bloated or cramping.