Turkiye: Traditional soap with indefinite shelf life exported to 25 nations

Traditional soaps in demand for their indefinite shelf life, with a recipe as old as 150 years and made with natural methods, have been making their way from the heart of the southeastern province of Gaziantep’s Nizip district to 25 countries across the globe.

Made through traditional methods for 150 years, the geographically indicated soap in Nizip is produced using a classical boiling process. A mixture of vegetable oils and sodium hydroxide, known as caustic soda, is obtained in large boilers, spread in the open air by workers, frozen and then cut into molds to form soap. The soap is then arranged in dome shapes and left to dry for six months. Produced and distributed to all 81 provinces of Türkiye, the soap is also exported to many countries.

Mehmet Özyurt, the president of the Nizip Chamber of Commerce, said that they received the geographical indication for the soap in 2013 and that production has been increasing yearly. “We produce 50,000 tons annually. Soap production started centuries ago using olive waste in our district, where olive production is abundant. Soap production has been significant in Nizip for over a century. Just like in the past, soap production continues in our district today in its most natural form.”

“As a result of these efforts, Nizip soap has exceeded Türkiye’s borders. Exports are made from our district to 25 countries, including the Middle East, Europe and America,”he added.

In recent years, as consumer awareness has increased, soap production has also increased proportionally, according to Özyurt. “Interest in liquid soap, which is actually hand detergent, decreases as society becomes more aware. We have an annual production capacity of around 50,000 tons in the district. Nizip soap is a product made entirely by hand from olive oil and its derivatives.”

Soap producer Reşit Şahin emphasized that Nizip soap does not contain any additives. Explaining that soap is produced from the oil obtained in the region, Şahin said, “Nizip soap is characteristically completely natural due to the absence of any additives and the dome shaping process. The oil is mixed with caustic and salt by boiling method. After spreading, it rests for a day depending on weather conditions.

“After the resting process, it is cut in a dome shape. Then, we leave it to dry. This period is long; these soaps are rested for at least three to six months. The most important reason why Nizip soap is different and natural from other soaps is the drying stage, which is the reason behind its indefinite shelf life.” he added.

Source: hurriyetdailynews

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