Growing Swedish appetites for New Zealand venison

Mountain River instore in Sweden
Graham and Gustaf Kugelberg, Mountain River's marketing manager in Scandinavia discussing the product with a customer in upmarket store NK Stockholm in 2017.

Swedish food service distributor Menigo AB is teaching chefs about the culinary potential of NZ ‘Pasture Venison’ at a new restaurant academy with assistance from Deer Industry NZ (DINZ) executive chef, Graham Brown.

They are using new cuts developed by Mountain River Venison import partner and director Gustaf Kugelberg to overcome “saddle of the brain” – chef prejudice against anything except middle cuts. Menigo AB sales manager Henning Kvick says New Zealand farmers and chefs already know about venison’s versatility but for chefs raised in European culinary traditions, old attitudes die hard.

Kvick is an avid social media user with about 80,000 followers on his kvicken71 Instagram account. He uses the platform to show restaurants what other chefs were doing – including novel dishes based on New Zealand venison. Importantly, considering the US is now New Zealand’s biggest export venison market, a third of his Instagram followers are American.

Menigo has clout, with 15,000 foodservice customers in Sweden and annual sales of $1 billion from 31,000 food, drink and non-food products. In the summer of 2016 it was bought by the world’s largest food service provider, US-headquartered Sysco.

Graham Brown and Gustaf Kugelberg discussing New Zealand venison with a customer at a promotion last year at upmarket store NK Stockholm  

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