There’s been a surge in demand for venison from New Zealand consumers and professional chefs in the run up to spring and summer, indicating that Kiwis are recognising the health and taste benefits, are starting to see it as a year-round option, and are also becoming more adventurous with how they cook it, says venison processor Duncan Venison.
The company is selling considerable quantities of venison to restaurants and home cooks per week, with no sign of sales slowing down as the warmer weather approaches, reports Vinnie Duncan, co-owner of Duncan Venison. This includes the “Bistro Fillet from Pāmu Farms,” a tender, pan ready cut that was developed earlier this year and is now on the menu at restaurants such as The Sugar Club, Sails Restaurant, The French Café, Paris Butter, and Clooney.
Since the 1 July launch, demand for venison has been strong. Sales of Bistro Fillet have exceeded budgeted volumes by over 50 percent, with a number of restaurants still to change over to their spring menu.
“In the past, there was this misconception that venison was gamey and hard to cook. People also thought that it was a winter or autumn dish, best paired with a heavier mash or berry sauce,” explains Duncan.
“That attitude is changing. Consumers and chefs are realising that it actually has a very delicate taste, and doesn’t require much effort in the kitchen. They are also starting to understand that it’s a nutritious, sustainable meat that is grown and available all year round. We’re seeing a lot of creative spring dishes on menus – from venison salads to carpaccios and risottos.”
Duncan believes that on-going innovation and education is key to making venison more appealing and accessible to both restaurants and home cooks.
“New cuts like the Bistro Fillet, which we developed with a team of chefs earlier this year, are proving very popular,” she says. “We feel it’s important to create more options for customers, including product that is easier to prepare and cook, while still providing a high quality eating experience.”
“The fact that more restaurants are using venison year-round has had an impact as well, along with the use of venison cuts on TV shows like Masterchef,” adds Duncan. “Food trends kicked off by professional chefs tend to filter down into the shopping habits of consumers. That is likely to be one of the reasons we’ve seen an increase in interest from the public.”
For more information on Duncan Venison and to purchase online, visit duncan-nz.com.