Venison recovery continues | Issue 176

Apr 8, 2022

The five venison marketing companies all met with the DFA Executive Committee last week to provide an update on the year so far and the outlook for the upcoming spring season.

The companies are working hard to diversify markets including growing US and Chinese retail, and to support the food service recovery in North America and Europe. Companies are seeing the recovery of these markets, and this has contributed to the uplift in venison prices.  The average of published schedules is currently around $8.00 per kg.

Companies are optimistic for the upcoming Spring season and are providing guidance to their suppliers that the lift should be in line with the normal seasonal pattern, with most predictions for a spring peak averaging around $9.00. Andy Duncan from Duncan NZ noted that “predicting the outlook for the upcoming spring season is not an exact science. Uncertainty of currency and cost inflation mean we can’t be 100% sure of where it will go”. Companies also note that risks due to the issues with shipping and concerns about future Covid related restrictions remain a possibility.

European restaurants are recovering well, but potential for Covid restrictions during the European winter, and uncertainty caused by the Ukraine crisis have seen companies reluctant to put additional price pressure on the market. Dave Courtney, Sales and Marketing Manager from Silver Fern Farms notes “We are wary of creating a non-sustainable boom-bust cycle with restaurant menu placement being a critical stability factor”.

These thoughts were echoed by Terry O’Connell from Alliance “venison is still underperforming, and we need to add value to the category but in a sustainable manner that provides longer term success.”

Shipping and logistics remain one of the most challenging factors for our export industry. This includes delays and the lack of availability of containers and container space here in New Zealand, along with shipping companies dropping New Zealand ports off schedules, often with limited warning. Ports around the world are still congested, with Rotterdam and Long Beach both seeing delays in offloading containers. Companies are exploring alternative options which are often more expensive and not long-term solutions. The recent announcements from a number of airlines resuming international routes is good news that will increase airfreight capacity out of New Zealand, and hopefully reduce the cost to companies.

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