The Government has signalled that an increase in overseas demand for game meat will depend on “high standards of traceability and sustainability” as trade figures reveal there is room for growth in the export market.
Figures from the Department for International Trade show that in 2017 game meat exports were worth £7 million. This is compared to a UK domestic market worth approximately £120 million, highlighting that more needs to be done to promote British game meat abroad.
The Countryside Alliance and British Game Alliance are calling for the Food Standards Agency’s guidance on wild game to be reviewed to ensure they are promoting fair competition between game meat producers in the UK and EU, as one way of supporting the export market.
The trade figure was revealed in response to a parliamentary question asked by Jim Shannon MP to raise the profile of game meat in Parliament during Great British Game Week (19-22 November). The Countryside Alliance organised a series of events to celebrate the week, including a special game lunch in the House of Lords.
In response to the question, Trade Minister, Graham Stuart MP, stated that game meat exports receive support through initiatives such as the GREAT campaign and the Government’s recently launched Export Strategy. He went on to state, “we will continue to use the UK’s reputation for high quality food and drink, with high standards of traceability and sustainability, further increasing overseas demand for our products.”
Countryside Alliance Head of Campaigns, Liam Stokes, commented: “The Minister’s comments once again highlight the need for credibly-enforced shoot standards. We know that British game is some of the most sustainable meat there is, and if we want to grow the export market, we need to be able to demonstrate that through the trustworthy auditing process the British Game Alliance provides for their members.”
British Game Alliance Managing Director, Tom Adams, commented: “The key to increasing demand for game at home and abroad is through producing a high-quality product at reasonable prices. The Minister’s response clearly shows that high standards are not just important to consumers but are also central to the Government’s approach to boosting exports of British food and drink. It is essential that shoots and game producers adhere to high standards if we want to see a healthy game market and the BGA is working hard to achieve that.”