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Deer industry pushes to expand NZ’s venison market in US

The deer industry in New Zealand is making a big effort to increase the consumption of New Zealand venison in the United States. Currently, North America is the largest market for New Zealand venison, but most of it is enjoyed in restaurants. The goal now is to encourage more people to cook venison at home.

To achieve this, Deer Industry New Zealand, along with five major venison exporters and the Ministry of Primary Industries, have launched a $4.9 million project called the North American Retail Accelerator project. The project aims to boost growth through marketing efforts and participation in trade shows to showcase the versatility and great taste of New Zealand venison.

Rhys Griffiths, the interim chief executive of Deer Industry, emphasized the importance of working with exporters and marketers in the US market to drive growth. Consumers also need to be informed about where and how to purchase New Zealand venison products.

If successful, the project will require deer farmers to increase their herds to meet the growing demand. This will only be possible if there are financial incentives for farmers to do so. Griffiths stressed the need to ensure that farm gate returns are attractive enough for farmers to expand their stock.

Due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the restaurant industry, the venison market in New Zealand faced a significant decline. This has highlighted the importance of diversifying markets and promoting venison for home cooking in North America.

With the US market showing rapid growth, there is a huge potential to sell more New Zealand venison in the region. By encouraging more Americans to cook venison at home, the deer industry hopes to capitalize on this opportunity for expansion.

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