Countryside Alliance Chief Executive Tim Bonner writes:
Last Wednesday our Wales Director, Rachel Evans, organised a wonderful Game-to-eat event at the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff Bay. Assembly Members and invited guests were not only able to try Welsh game, but to see it prepared and cooked. Rabbit, venison, duck, pheasants and partridges went from fur and feather all the way to delicious meals in front of our eyes.
If we needed reminding, the evening highlighted the two big issues that impact on the game market. Firstly, that game is something that people want to eat, but secondly that there remains a cultural barrier to the preparation and cooking of game in the home beyond those of us who regularly shoot and eat game. Put simply people will eat and enjoy game at an event like last week’s, or order it in a restaurant, but cooking it themselves remains a step too far for most.
Meanwhile an increasing supply of game, combined with the difficulties of integrating such a niche product into mainstream food production and marketing, has seen the value of shot birds fall. It remains absolutely critical, however, that every bird that is shot enters the food chain. We have an individual responsibility to eat our share and there are many great businesses selling game products at the local scale such as the brilliant Pennant Valley Game who supplied the game consumed at the Welsh Assembly. The Alliance has also done a huge amount to increase the market for game through the Game-to-Eat campaign, but clearly more is now needed and we are investigating the development of a ‘Game Marketing Board’ to uncover new markets for premium game products in the UK and around the world.
Nearly every area of food production has such a body tasked with promoting their products, supported by government and funded by producer levies. We believe that the time has come for us to take the marketing of game as seriously and commit as much effort to the sale of game as we do to the sale of shooting.
Follow Tim at @CA_TimB