Sales of venison, in recent years, have increased faster than any other meat. Recent media attention has only added to this increase and like a jigsaw puzzle everything is fitting into place for further bumper sales this year. The story begun in mid-January with the infamous horse meat debacle. Two results occurred: first off – mild panic, and secondly, huge publicity towards alternative meats. Next up came the University of East Anglia’s report in March, stating the need to cull 50% of the wild deer population every year, which will in turn lead to an increase supply in the market. Clever or coincidence, either way the Game-to-Eat campaign is always happy for some help from the media. Therefore, we thought we would return the favour by adding in the health and nutrition debate between venison and beef.
Wild deer have the more natural choice of eating what they like and what is on offer. They are both grazers and browsers, attaining a varied and complete diet much different to cows in the field. 100 grams of lean beef contains 191 kcal and 11 grams of fat. Where as 100 grams of venison contains 104 kcal and only 1 gram of fat. Even a farmed deer has less than half the fat beef has. The biggest and most notable difference between the two is in saturated fatty acids, of which venison only shows trace levels compared to 4.39 g/100g in beef. Furthermore, the majority of vitamins are found in higher quantities in venison over beef.
Venison is probably the world’s healthiest red meat, one that has the best possible life and a quick humane death. Where as the use of steroids and chemicals in the production of beef leaves you questioning what you are eating.
The differences in flavour and taste between farmed and wild venison are extremely noticeable, whereas the prices are not. As has already been stated, farmed deer is still healthier than beef, but it has a more mild texture compared to the gaminess of wild venison. So definitely try cooking with both and find out for yourself. There are plenty of recipes on the Game-to-Eat website for your pleasure.
Still to come: the Game-to-Eat campaign is in the middle of the further testing of venison to try and distinguish between the six current species of deer in the UK. Progress is slow, but experimentation is fun.