Venison demand may outstrip supply this year

Apr 18, 2024

Demand for New Zealand venison may outstrip supply this year, with farmgate prices expected to be at, or slightly above, last year’s. Some exporters are offering minimum contracts.

Weaners are beginning the move off-farm. Photo: Dawn Pawsey.

“It’s still a little early to get a handle on firm farmgate prices as marketers are just starting to work towards negotiations for chilled venison contracts with their customers,” notes DINZ markets manager Rhys Griffiths.

Venison has been holding its own in the tough global headwinds for the red meat sector, with exporters signalling expected strong demand, he says.

Alliance Group’s expecting more demand for venison from Europe and the co-operative will be working hard to meet the expectations of customers in the face of lower supplies, following the heavy hind kill last year, reports Alliance’s group agribusiness manager Jamie Saker.

Alliance expects, “pricing to be around the same as last year, with the prospect of any lift dependent on customers’ willingness to pay higher levels and economic conditions leading into this year’s chilled season,” he says.

Frozen product has had some negative price pressure in Europe, exporters report. This is because alternative sources of game meat from around the EU continue to increase in quality and are eroding the quality advantage New Zealand venison has over other sources for frozen, explains Griffiths.

Petfood returns also remain depressed, affecting fifth quarter products such as offal and bone.

Shipping disruption could be another impediment. Only just nearly recovered from Covid-19 supply chain problems, it faces potential disruption again from the Middle East and Ukraine conflicts.

Even so, the EU outlook for chilled venison “remains positive,” comments First Light Farms general manager venison Matt Gibson.

Venison pricing in the US remains stable and, “continues to be our fastest growing market,” he notes. Demand for trim there is still high, which is encouraging as “more venison mince is consumed in the US year-on-year.”

Asia also continues to grow as small premium niche markets into retail and online-based retail customers.

First Light is offering a spring guaranteed minimum contract at $10.10 per kg, “which has already had ready uptake,” says Gibson.

Similarly, demand is building for Duncan NZ in Europe. According to its most recent supplier update, the company is looking at adding a guaranteed base to its 12-month supply contracts for the spring supply period “as a way to help deer farmers with weaner pricing and farm forecast budgeting.”


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