Belgian food and trade media, including bloggers, were treated to a taste of Cervena® venison at events in mid-March.
Cervena tasting events held at three restaurants – A Priori in Haaltert, L’armentier in Genval and Vous Lé Vous in Hasselt– were part of Belgian wholesaler Metro’s Cervena promotion to press and bloggers to generate awareness of Cervena, DINZ venison marketing manager Marianne Wilson explains.
“The aim was to get influencers in the Belgian food scene to try Cervena and then tell people about what makes Cervena so unique and how it’s ideal for the lighter fresher styles of summer cuisine,” she says.
Eighty-five writers, radio journalists and bloggers eagerly accepted invitations to attend the three Cervena tasting evenings designed by the chefs, alongside DINZ consultant chef Shannon Campbell.
“Our in-market partners were delighted with the attendance,” she reports, adding the activity was a collaboration between Metro – the wholesaler who works with Alliance Group and their importer Bimpex meats – DINZ and the Jeune Restaurateurs d’Europe (JRE), a network of young and innovative Belgian chefs.
The enthusiasm of the influential JRE chefs Giovanni Oosters , Martin Volkaerts and Kristof Coppens, who each endorse free-range farming practices and have a culinary online following, was critical to the success of this project. As was the support and attendance of JRE president, chef Steven Dehaeze, who played a pivotal role in the organisation of the dinners.
“We can’t thank the chefs enough, having them endorse Cervena and explain its qualities at the events is an ideal way to get the Cervena message out to a wider audience,” Wilson says.
At each event, guests were told about the Cervena story, what Cervena is, its quality attributes, how the animals are raised and its suitability for summer eating. Each table featured information on a specific Cervena farmer which which Alliance Group is working.
The activity was organised by DINZ, Metro and Alliance group as part of the project to raise awareness among chefs and diners of Cervena as a summer dining option. This is part of the Passion2Profit (P2P) Cervena Benelux trial in the Primary Growth Partnership’s programme, aiming to lift industry profitability.
This is the second year Cervena is being promoted by Metro as part of the P2P trial.
“Learning from last year, Alliance pointed to the need to raise awareness of Cervena to a wider audience – many chefs understand what Cervena is but we need to continue to broaden our reach” says Wilson.
Terry O’Connell, Alliance’s export sales manager, says the co-operative has been encouraged by the response to the promotion.
“Our own research shows that Cervena’s delicate texture and taste lends itself to a lighter, contemporary cuisine so we’re confident this programme will resonate with European consumers,” he says.
The events have already been well profiled by several bloggers and food influencers on their social media networks as well as picked up by traditional press channels and radio. See www.deernz.org/marketingpremiumvenison.
More events and activities, aimed to raise awareness on Cervena working alongside the JRE chef network are planned over the next few months.
This article first appeared in Deer Industry News magazine (April/May 2017) and is reproduced here with permission. Check out the magazine for more in-depth deer industry specific news.