[5 July/ Rural News Group]

Venison has reached a sweet spot of better prices, wider markets and reduced seasonality in prices. Venison prices increased in the last two years to an all-time June high of $9/kg carcase weight for quality stags. Deer Industry NZ Chief Executive Dan Coup said a large decrease in deer numbers being processed has hugely helped to strengthen prices. The industry has strong export markets in two of the world’s major currency zones now that the US is the single-largest market for venison. Mr Coup said confidence is high and people are growing their herds. DINZ Venison Marketing Manager Marianne Wilson said more chefs and consumers are making ethical purchasing decisions and appreciate that NZ venison is pasture-raised, grown naturally without hormones, in a clean, spacious environment. The Cervena venison marketing trial as part of the Passion2Profit programme is also adding to the industry’s favourable position, as well as the rise of Paleo diets and European enthusiasm for barbeques.