Sales of game are flying high, as new research from Mintel finds the value of the game market has shot up by a third (33%) over the last five years alone. By the end of 2015, the game meat market is expected to leap through the £100 million mark to reach an impressive £106 million, up from £98 million in 2014. What’s more, growth is expected to continue with sales forecast to reach £143 million by 2020.
It is venison which is the star performer in the market, fuelling growth in game meat. Indeed, usage of venison has increased from 13% to 17% over the last 12 months. While venison is proving to be the most popular game meat amongst today’s Brits, less than one in 10 have eaten hare or rabbit (7%), boar (7%) or pheasant (7%) over the past six months. Meanwhile, Brits are less wild about other more exotic game such as quail (4%), partridge (4%), guinea fowl (4%) and grouse (3%), which have been used by under one in twenty consumers. Overall, one in four (24%) Brits has eaten game in the last six months.
While sales of game are enjoying strong growth, Mintel research shows there is scope to propel this growth further. Indeed some 41% of Brits say they have not eaten game in the past 6 months but would be interested in trying it in the future. What is more, half (51%) of poultry and game users say they would be interested in trying game meat which is ready to cook, ie in a tray with a seasoning/marinade, proving the significant potential the market holds.
There has been an increase in launch activity in game products in recent years which deliver on convenience, for example in burgers, steaks and pies. However, there remains a lack of products which can simply be put straight into the oven in their own packaging with the sauces/marinades/toppings contained there within.
Oven-ready marinated formats have proliferated the poultry and red meat markets over the last few years. There is also scope for more companies to offer more game options in the same way to provide a sure-to-succeed way to cook a game dish. They sidestep issues regarding not knowing how to prepare game or which sauces or marinades make the best pairings. This level of accessibility to consumers, no matter their level of culinary aptitude, is likely to be vital in mining the notable interest in game and enabling the market to reach its full potential.
Finally, highlightting the importance of game, it seems that for those existing users, game is seen as a sensible choice, with 56% of game eaters saying this meat is a healthier option than red meat.