Game market goes wild as sales grow

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The market for game meat is at an all-time high, according to the Countryside Alliance. 

As the shooting season closes at the beginning of next month (1 February), Jack Knott of the Countryside Alliance’s Game to Eat campaign believes the category is more popular than ever.

He said that despite a “challenging season weather-wise”, interest in game meats has meant the category is joining beef, lamb and pork as a regular dish.

Knott said: “This is a very welcome and over-due recognition of game as a healthy and easy alternative to other meats. As consumers search for increasingly reliable and healthy foods, wild game is at the forefront of the market. Supermarkets and butchers are filling their shelves with an increasing number of wild game cuts and ready-meals which allow customers to ease into cooking game, keeping it simple yet tasty.”

Stephen Crouch, chairman of the National Game Dealers’ Association, added: “This season has seen strong sales, with a definite move towards larger distributors, resulting in plenty more visibility on the supermarket shelves. The game market certainly looks strong for the future.”

Game’s popularity was also helped by the growth in availability in major supermarkets.

Iceland started selling grouse from Scottish firm Kezie Foods at £8.99 a brace, while Morrisons launched a new label, Wild as Nature Intended, with Yorkshire Game.

Highland Game has also secured a deal with Aldi to sell its products in the chain’s Scottish stores, and Yorkshire Game also achieved new orders from Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury’s and has seen a 10% rise in turnover following investment in equipment.

Earlier this year, Mintel, the global provider of market research, predicted that annual UK sales would rise over the £100 million mark for the first time in 2015 and placed it on its 50 Markets to Watch list. The Mintel research shows that one in four Brits has eaten game in the last six months and a further 41% are willing to try it in the future. The report concluded that sales will reach £143m by 2020.

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