Local is lovely but NZ venison is better

Angus Cleland, Terra Pacific
Venison marketer Angus Cleland of Terra Pacific promoting NZ venison at the 2016 US National Restaurant Association convention

Venison marketers selling venison in California are reminding their customers that the world’s best venison comes from New Zealand. 

Ex-pat Kiwi Angus Cleland says there is a strong demand in California for local produce. To overcome this, his company Terra Pacific Marketing tells chefs: “Look, you’re not going to be able to source venison from within 150 miles but we can offer you with the best venison in the world.

Terra Pacific, a marketer and distributor for Mountain River Venison, works collaboratively with Deer Industry NZ (DINZ) in the US market. DINZ executive chef Graham Brown assists with venison cooking demonstrations and DINZ key account manager Nigel Morris assists with market promotions.

“Value-added leg cuts such as heart of rump and tri-tip are gaining more traction as chefs recognize their convenience, high yield and consistency,” says Cleland.

“Our company is also taking stock of the growing home delivery market, typified by $9-$10 meal ingredient packages. This Amazon-led trend is a great way to bring the best foods from the rest of the world direct to the consumer,” he says.

Cleland says market change is constant. One such change is the rapid expansion of the US ‘meat snack’ category, both in terms of products — among them, meat bars, bites and jerky — and the meats that go into them.

“Consumers – and particularly those on a paleo diet – are looking for lean, healthy high-protein snacks. Exotic meats, like venison and bison fit well into this category,” he says.

“Small ‘up-start’ artisan producers of these products had been rapidly acquired by multi-nationals who recognised the value of the category. Hershey bought Krave Jerky in 2015 and more recently General Mills acquired Epic, for example.”

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