Exploring new retail markets for Cervena in Canada

Nick Taylor, DINZ Cervena Canada
Nick Taylor, DINZ

Planning for a retail trial for Cervena ® in Western Canada is well underway, with venison exporters and Deer Industry NZ (DINZ) exploring a new market niche. The work is being within the Passion2Profit Primary Growth Partnership programme and was reported on in the latest Deer Industry News magazine.

In the trial Alliance and in-market partner The Lamb Company will undertake a small $50,000 spend pilot with a high-end retail chain, Choices Market based in Vancouver, British Columbia. This will provide the venison marketers with some insights into how Canadian consumers view Cervena as a summer protein.

This is the first time ever that Cervena has been promoted at retail in Canada, where exports of chilled venison have been sitting at around 60-70 tonnes worth $1.5 million a year for the past five years, explains Deer Industry NZ (DINZ) venison marketing manager Nick Taylor.

We are really keen to find out how Canadian consumers feel about and view Cervena as a summer protein,” he says.

The two month-long promotion starts in July and aims to sell venison in the Northern Hemisphere as a barbecue protein. Qualitative data will be gathered throughout the programme from a variety of groups, including store meat managers, in-store promotions team members and also customers who have bought and/or consumed Cervena, explains Taylor. This will be combined with quantitative data from online engagement statistics and store sales data to help paint the picture.

As a result of this P2P activity, DINZ executive chef Graham Brown was also in action in Canada in April ahead of his US itinerary (see below). Again working with The Lamb Company, he was introducing chef customers of Vancouver-based wholesaler Trimpac Meats to Cervena in an exclusive invitation-only workshop.

Cervena promotion continues in the US

Graham Brown Cervena venison
Right: Graham Brown’s skills are centre-stage in the new Cervena cutting video.

Another Deer Industry News article shows the US Cervena programme is continuing with chefs, culinary students and salespeople exposed to Graham Brown’s Cervena knowledge and skills in his packed itinerary in March and April.

While exports of frozen venison grew significantly to the US in the December 2018 year, the amount of chilled venison actually dropped. However, the value of the chilled exports only fell back by three percent, showing the importance of keeping up the promotional effort to get the most out of the market, says DINZ venison marketing manager Nick Taylor.

Brown’s trip involved him in re-filming the Cervena cutting demonstration for a video to be using alongside demonstrations to educate chefs in coming years. Several other presentations, saw him working with Duncan NZ and its importer Broadleaf and the Lamb Company to educate distributors’ sales teams, chefs and culinary students.

Deer Industry News“We need to continue undertaking promotional activities in North America to help Cervena maintain a premium position in the minds of chefs and introduce it to new and up-and-coming chefs,” says Taylor.

Digital goes mainstream for New Zealand venison

While print has its place, it is no longer on the marketing frontline, notes another venison-related article which looks at the deer industry’s more planned approach for social media and bloggers. Websites have now largely taken the place of brochures and social media enables direct communication with chefs and consumers. One case-study shows how Silver Fern Farms has been successfully using social media to market Cervena to Dutch consumers. Another looks at how Mountain River Venison has been connecting with Swedish chefs and consumers using Instagram.

There’s also a piece in the bumper Deer Industry Conference edition covering the presentations from the marketing representations from each of the five venison exporters, another from Rabobank’s head of business development Hamish Midgley saying China’s African Swine Fever situation is creating a “really good opportunity for protein out of New Zealand,” including venison and one on new research work for deerskins.

You can read more about the three articles referred to in this item in the latest edition of Deer Industry News magazine (June/July 2019). Check out the magazine for more in-depth deer industry specific news, including its environmental work, new deer velvet research looking at promoting healthy brain ageing, NZ Deer Farmers Association news, on-farm fieldays, trials and more.

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