Game to Eat

 

COUNTRYSIDE ALLIANCE

A tasty and healthy alternative to Lamb, Chicken, Beef or Pork

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British to the bone

With the creation of new game prodcuts to tempt inexperienced palates comes improvement in quality and the potential for this very British meat to become renowned the world over.  

This article first appeared in Sporting Shooter. 

 

The Countryside Alliance cares deeply about the consumption of wild game and the future of the wild game market. Wild game meat the wonderful end-product of game shooting, and the desire to harvest it plays a vital part in getting hundreds of thousands out and enjoying the British countryside annually. Wild game also plays a crucial part in the rural economy, helping to employ thousands in remote areas, is a very healthy meat and, most importantly, it is unapologetically British.

 

At the Countryside Alliance we think these are all great things to promote, so in 2005 we launched the Game to Eat campaign to publicise wild game, in particular pheasant and partridge, to the public, celebrate the nutritional value of game and help add value to the shooting industry. Plenty of progress has been made over the past 12 years, but the Countryside Alliance is determined to push the wild game market even further. There is the potential to make British wild game as celebrated as the likes of Scottish beef and Welsh lamb, however to succeed in this mission there needs to be a combined effort from the shooting community and from shoots themselves.

 

Collaborations between the shooting and food industries are increasing year on year, with an increasing focus on start-up businesses moving the wild game market into novel avenues. The use of online sales, the ability to lengthen the life of game products and the opportunity to produce brand new products all add to the demand for wild game. Examples of new wild game processing include smoking, curing and preserving, as well as ‘fast food’ items such as wild game sausages and burgers. We have seen a number of shoots producing wild game sausages to hand out to guests, and to sell on to restaurants and pubs and through local shops. Other shoots have started producing soups and casseroles for the same exclusive reasoning.

 

With more pubs and restaurants, particularly in the countryside, taking up the opportunity to use this fantastic source of protein, with farmers’ markets and butchers on the rise, and new country-wide initiatives such as Farm Drop and Food Assembly, there is a rising sense that for the first time in a long time shoots can begin to make a profit by adding value to the wild game they produce.

 

Much like diversification by farmers to increase profit, there are endless options and opportunities for shoots and shoot owners. Either alone or together with neighbouring shoots wild game can be processed and sold on locally, or developed into a product and sold nationwide. Research from the back end of 2015 showed 41% of the public who have never eaten wild game are keen to try it for the first time. That is a massive target audience.

 

This diversifying market is already driving improvements on shoots, as many shoots have taken steps to improve the end product they are producing. This is being completed by; considering the variety of bird being released, how it is fed and particularly how it is handled once it has been shot, thus producing a better meat and increasing their end profit.

 

I have spoken warmly of the Swedish attitude to wild game previously; it is remarkable that on the back of a strong wild game market there is an 87% acceptance of shooting in Sweden. The growing acceptance of hunting in Sweden goes hand in hand with the widespread enjoyment of the wild game meat produced. It is a worthy model to look up to.

 

So if you are directly involved with wild game, have a think this summer whether there are any opportunities open to you. Our Game to Eat campaign would be more than happy to discuss ideas in person, as well as help with marketing and publicity.

 

 

 

 

 

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