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In a drive to their recapture pre-pandemic initiative, the deer industry has refreshed its marketing activity, focused on targeted North American food service markets and Asian velvet opportunities

Rural News / opinion
In a drive to their recapture pre-pandemic initiative, the deer industry has refreshed its marketing activity, focused on targeted North American food service markets and Asian velvet opportunities
deer velvet herd

Deer Industry New Zealand (DINZ) has launched an updated and refreshed vision for the industry. Venison took a hammering from the pandemic lockdowns in key international markets from the closure of the global food service industry, which is where the majority of our venison ends up.

DINZ CEO Innes Moffat says the new roadmap is really around demonstrating a pathway towards a more stable and a higher venison schedule, but also making sure that the industry is investing in other areas which impact deer farming confidence and deer farming profitability.


"The key areas that DINZ is going to be working with industry on are market diversification for venison, and having a third going into North America, a third into Europe, and a third going into other markets as an aspiration which is shared by all of the five venison marketing companies."

"They have agreed to work collaboratively with the development of a North American retail market. Deer Industry New Zealand is putting its funding in, and New Zealand venison companies are putting their funding in to jointly work together to grow demand for New Zealand venison at retail in North America, so they've given us a three year commitment that they will be supporting that activity. And it's underway now with a variety of in store promotions, new product development, social media endorsement of New Zealand venison, and it's going really well; there's a lot of interest."

"It's a good time to be promoting venison in North America at the moment, because it's attracting quite a different customer base. We could call them the hipster hunters who live in urban style, people who aspire to wearing camo and having a bow or a gun that would never actually step too far away from their SUV, and go and actually get anything themselves. Really great that they can then go into a supermarket and pick up some venison in that exotic meats sector.”

“The other segment that we're really appealing to is people who are looking for non-industrial meats. You know there's the concerns around feedlot beef, there's a demand for grass feed naturally raised products. There's a big customer base out there looking for alternative meat products, something which has got a natural reputation and with the New Zealand reputation, again, for producing safe high quality food. It's a good time to be promoting it there. So we're seeing strong growth in in sales, and also increased numbers of stores who are willing to be buying New Zealand venison.”

Another area that DINZ is really focusing in on is cementing into place the role of New Zealand deer velvet as a health food. Firstly in Korea where a lot of work has been done over the past decade, in growing the array of over the counter products that health food and pharmaceutical companies are producing, using New Zealand deer velvet as a named ingredient.

These are products which are targeted at children, targeted at women and at the elderly and indeed the busy stressed executive to boost their immune system and to increase energy levels. There are now several hundred products being sold in Korea using New Zealand deer velvet for a variety of purposes. Deer Industry New Zealand are focused on growing this market.

They are also committed to working with similar companies in China to get New Zealand deer velvet used in those types of products, as velvet in the Chinese market is predominantly used for traditional Chinese medicine.

Listen to the podcast to hear the full interview.

Angus Kebbell is the Producer at Tailwind Media. You can contact him here.

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