Between the British Game Alliance campaigning for the industry with new product development and its quality assurance mark, and the Eat Game Awards, now in its second year, highlighting the top players in the category, there’s no shortage of noise being made in the sector.
Global Meat News caught up with co-founder of the Eat Game Awards James Horne to discuss the UK game sector and what’s driving it forward.
Horne, who is also chairman of gunmaker James Purdey & Sons, said participation in the game sector is on the rise. “There’s a rising levels of awareness of game and the wider distribution through retailers and game dealers,” he explains. “Retailers like points of difference, they like the breadth of choice and they like diversity within the chicken and turkey sector. A wider variety of price point is also attractive.”
The game sector has had peaks and troughs over the years but Horne believes that with retailer support, the market will sustain. “Game consumption has been growing steadily, however with over 95% of groceries sold through the multiples one is dependent upon them to make the difference and grow its distribution.”
Horne also said the sector’s provenance gives it a unique selling point. “This is a specialist market and provides choice. With an element of the supply being totally wild, the ethics behind the availability and its proven provenance provides a strong case for its presence in the market.”
Despite its seasonal nature, Horne believes game’s supply chain has improved, something he attributes to work done by trade bodies however he does warn that the category, like all meats, could be at the mercy of trade deals. “The British Game Alliance has introduced a very successful quality programme aligned to the Red Tractor kite mark that is probably the major reason for the improved supply chain.
“We have been concerned about a possible oversupply given reductions in the export market as a result of import difficulties and legislation. The supply is finite and seasonal, but I would expect the normal rules of price, supply and demand to apply.”
Looking ahead, what does Horne see as key trends within the game sector? “I see a more diverse supply becoming available with many more innovative products using game as an ingredient.”
To nominate a person or business for the Eat Game Awards, click here. Deadline for nominations is 1 November 2019.