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Paleo diet helps push venison prices to record highs

A drop in the number of deer being processed and the increasing popularity of the paleo diet pushes venison prices to record highs.

Prices have increased steadily in the last two years and hit an all-time June high of $9 a kilogram, carcase weight, for quality stags.

With venison prices traditionally peaking in spring in response to demand game meat markets in Europe, the upward trend is likely to continue in coming months.

Deer Industry New Zealand chief executive Dan Coup said a big drop in the number of deer being processed had played a big part in strengthening prices but that other important factors were at work.

"Whether it's the emergence of paleo diets, new culinary trends, or the new enthusiasm in Europe for summer barbecues, our farm-raised venison looks like the right product for the times," he said.

"The United States is now the single largest market for venison, having overtaken Germany. This means the industry now has strong export markets in two of the world's major currency zones."

Most of the venison was being directed to the restaurant trade, where it appeared US diners hurting from the global financial crisis were moving away from fast food outlets and diners to better restaurants.

Chefs and consumers were now also making ethical purchasing decisions, DINZ venison marketing manager Marianne Wilson said. They liked the fact NZ venison was pasture-raised and grown naturally, without hormones.

More at NZFarmer.co.nz

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