CONSUMPTION of grouse in Scotland has risen, with some game dealers noting a five-fold increase in demand for the meat, while restaurateurs claim that any grouse dishes on the menu will sell out.

The 'Gift of Grouse' campaign celebrated the meat at a reception at the Scottish Parliament recently, which was hosted by MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, Kate Forbes, while Scotland’s top chefs have also been championing the use of grouse in their kitchens throughout the season, including Brian Grigor, Mark Greenaway, Martin Wishart, Andrew Fairlie, Tom Kitchin and Nick Nairn.

Jeremy Dixon, of Ochil Foods, in Perthshire, works with more than 30 Scottish suppliers. He was also in attendance to highlight the success of Scotland’s home-grown produce, and the importance of supporting rural food businesses.

He said: “We supply grouse from estates in Deeside, Angus and East Lothian to restaurants, pubs and hotels throughout the country and we have noticed a five-fold increase in the demand for grouse this year compared to last year, consumers more than ever want to eat the very best produce Scotland has to offer.

“Importunately, we have seen a large-portion of our sales growth come from establishments with lower price points, who hadn’t necessary used grouse before, with chefs and consumers alike being more adventurous and wanting to see more Scottish produce on the menus.”

Chairman of the Scottish Moorland Group, Andrew Hopetoun, said: “The owners of Scottish grouse moors invest in and manage these beautiful, heather-covered uplands creating rural employment and environmental benefits, and the surplus stocks of wild grouse give such a wonderful seasonal product that I’m delighted to see getting support.

“Game offers a way of life to many rural communities and is an important part of many artisan food businesses. People today want produce with provenance and quality at heart and Scottish grouse has exactly that.”