Upon awarding the grant, Fergus Ewing MSP, Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy highlighted the importance of the venison market to Scotland. “Scotland is the largest producer of Venison in the UK, producing around 3,500 tonnes of wild venison and 70 tonnes of farmed venison each year. With our reputation for provenance and quality we know that there are exciting market opportunities that beckon to help further grow the sector. I am delighted therefore to be able to offer £20,000 funding to the Scottish Venison Association to provide relevant market insight and help the sector grasp the opportunities that are out there.”
One year on from the launch of Beyond the Glen, a strategy for Scottish Venison through to 2030, the Scottish Venison Partnership has reformed and relaunched as the Scottish Venison Association.
Other initiatives in the sector include wild deer health being thoroughly examined in a project funded by Scottish Government and Food Standards Scotland, and delivered by the Moredun Research Institute and Edinburgh University, with a final report to come in the next few months.
Bill Bewsher, chairman of the Scottish Venison Association, said: “It is essential that we know exactly what is happening in the market, which is complex and changing, and as imports from New Zealand to the UK are declining. We believe we remain in a situation where UK demand outstrips supply, and where market growth is constrained by a shortage of product, wild or farmed.”
Bewsher explained what the grant will be used for. “The research that we can now commission with the support of the Scottish Government will give us precise and current data on the state of the UK retail venison market. We hope also to undertake work across the catering/food service sectors as well as some basic, long overdue polling of consumer attitudes to venison to be repeated annually to assess developing trends. This market insight will be incredibly helpful in identifying commercial opportunities and move the whole sector up a gear – which is vital given the challenges ahead.”