Another year raising awareness of and demand for Cervena® in Europe has passed. Venison exporters have agreed to continue with the programme and a refreshed look for the appellation in 2018.
The initiative, part of the industry’s Passion2Profit programme, involves four of the five venison exporters – First Light Foods, Silver Fern Farms, Alliance and, most recently, Duncan NZ. It aims to eventually create demand for 300 tonnes of Cervena for summer menus in Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg, or the Benelux region.
The companies presented their programmes and observations of the 2017 programme to the Marketing Working Group at the end of September.
Activities in the market included a mix of press events, liaison with bloggers, Cervena tastings, in-flight catering promotions, chefs’ competitions and events using the services of DINZ executive chef Graham Brown and Germany-based contractor Shannon Campbell, work with gourmet butchers’ organisations and in-store promotions, alongside magazine features and advertisements in foodservice trade magazines, websites, and point-of-sale material.
The pilot programme underway in Germany saw Silver Fern Farms testing the non-seasonal waters for Cervena promotions in the market using successes learned from the Benelux programme. Wholesale tasting events were held involving the venison marketer, its importer and three German foodservice wholesalers.
The summer promotion resulted in a total of nearly 95 tonnes of Cervena sold in Benelux and Germany in 2017. Most popular cuts were all suitable for grilling and summer menus – four-cut leg, striploin, frenched rack and tenderloin.
“The good news is, all four companies expressed their intention to continue with the Cervena summer promotion in Benelux for 2018, with the encouragement of their importing and distributing partners,” explains DINZ P2P manager, Innes Moffat.
“It’s early days, but the indications were relatively positive in Germany too and activity there will continue in 2018.”
The importers recognise this will require a long commitment to create awareness of and demand for Cervena in the summer in Europe, he says. Also, that the presentation in individual company activities needs to be consistent, to enhance the impact of any promotions.
“The exporters have also noted a growing ‘summer game’ category. This creates the opportunity for New Zealand venison, but also creates opportunity for competing game items.”
Venison exporters are expected to confirm the final details of their 2018 programmes in January, with at least part of the campaign, now in its fourth year, starting to target diners.
Cervena appellation evolves
Cervena licensees have approved minor changes to the way Cervena is used in the first refresh for the appellation in 24 years. The tagline ‘Natural, Tender Venison’ has been replaced with ‘Pure Freedom’, but the Cervena diamond shape and stripes are still prominent on the packaging guidelines (gold for chilled, silver for frozen), but are now optional.
Duncan NZ marketing manager Glenn Tyrrell says the change is timely and follows a thorough review of how Cervena is marketed in Europe and the US. In all markets, the primary outlets for Cervena for the marketing companies are foodservice and the primary target is chefs. The new positioning reflects this.
The evolution allows all five venison exporters to build a story that aligns with the European promotion programme, but which also works perfectly for customers in the US, he says.
Moffat says the companies agreed to review the Cervena imagery, messages and packaging guidelines as part of a push to use Cervena in a wider array of markets. The refreshed look is being rolled out progressively as the marketing companies update their promotional materials and packaging.
This article first appeared in Deer Industry News magazine (December 2017/January 2018) and is reproduced here with permission. Check out the magazine for more in-depth deer industry specific news.