Good news for Scottish Venison on Scottish Venison Day, 4 September 2021

  • UK retail venison sales continue to rise
  • Mairi Gougeon, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, welcomes additional funding for venison sector through Scotland Food & Drink Partnership Covid recovery programme

Scottish Venison Day falls annually on 4 September, also the launch day of Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight.  Despite the pressures that the pandemic has placed on the sector with the restaurant, catering, food service and events outlets having been shut down for around 18 months, although now re-opened, retail venison sales have continued to rise through that same period according to the latest research from The Knowledge Bank.

In the year to week end 8 May 2021 UK retail venison sales, as reported by Nielsen, showed a continued steady increase of 28% – a hike in value to £14m, representing £3m sales in Scotland and £11m in the rest of the UK. All categories of venison product bar one showed increases in retail sales. Much of this increase was down to the continued efforts through the pandemic of Highland Game who have also secured the official venison supply to the COP26 summit in Glasgow in November.

Amanda Brown, Director, The Knowledge Bank, says:

“Venison sales have grown strongly in grocery over the last year with seasonal sales at Christmas particularly important.  The strong performance can also be attributed to a number of reasons including: increased distribution across a range of products including venison burgers, grill-steaks and sausages; new shoppers entering the category and existing shoppers buying more.  It is exciting to see that the range of products and brands in this category are really making venison more accessible and relevant for today’s consumer giving them the opportunity to easily prepare, eat and enjoy venison at home.”

Richard Cooke, Chairman, the Scottish Venison Association, and who has recently been elected to the position following the retiral of Bill Bewsher at the Association’s AGM in July, says:

“The positive trend across retail sales of venison in the UK continues, and this is good news and must be partly down to our online promotional campaign which ran from March through to May earlier this year in Scotland, London, and SE England.  It should give us a firm platform from which to re-establish the position of Scottish venison in the UK restaurant and hospitality sectors as these re-open following closure through lockdown and the Covid crisis.”

In addition to the positive data, further good news for the sector comes with its success in bidding for funds through the Scotland Food and Drink Partnership Covid Recovery Programme to implement a pilot project for the expansion of locally based chill and processing facilities with a fund of £80,000 awarded, subject to agreement of details, to support several potential demonstration sites.

Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon says:

“I am delighted by the positive news of a rise in sales of quality Scottish venison and with Scottish Venison Day on 4 September, I hope to see these strong sales continue. The Scottish Government is providing £5 million to the Food and Drink Recovery Plan this financial year, some of which will be used to help grow the venison sector further.  £50,000 of funding was provided earlier this year to help support a venison promotion campaign and it’s fantastic to see this healthy, nutritious and sustainable product selling so well.

“As part of the Recovery Plan, the Scotland Food and Drink Partnership has also provided £80,000 to support demonstration sites for locally based chill and processing facilities. This will ensure the quality of product as well as support the Scottish Venison Strategy and our commitment to local food, confirmed by the recently launched local food strategy consultation.”

Richard Cooke continues:

“Whilst the sector relies heavily on a small number of skilled, professional businesses to take its raw product, process it, and ensure that it goes to market – whether retail, hospitality, or export – in tip-top condition, the Covid crisis has demonstrated the fragility of that system but has also highlighted the opportunity for smaller enterprises to be doing similar work serving local producers and meeting an increasing demand both locally and, as research continues to show, further afield.  This new fund will enable us to help a small number of prospective ventures that are currently at business planning stage over the line, with a commitment to operate as demonstration units in their initial years.  It also helps us to take forward a key area in the Scottish Venison Strategy, Beyond the Glen.”

For more information about the Scottish Venison Association see:
For the full venison report from The Knowledge Bank see:
Venison Category Performance (total GB and Scotland)
For the latest news ahead for Scottish Venison Day from Highland Game see:
Venison is a homegrown, sustainable and healthy solution to protein shortages

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