UK retail venison sales have shown a continued steady increase, rising 28% in the year to May, to be worth £3million sales in Scotland and £11m in the rest of the UK.

Scottish Venison Association chairman, Richard Cooke, said: “The positive trend across retail sales of venison in the UK continues, and this is good news and must also be partly down to our online promotional campaign which ran from March through to May earlier this year in Scotland, London, and south-east England.

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"It should give us a firm platform from which to re-establish the position of Scottish venison in the UK restaurant and hospitality sectors as these re-open following closure through lockdown and the Covid crisis.”

There was further good news for the sector with its success in bidding for funds through the Scotland Food and Drink Partnership Covid Recovery Programme to implement a pilot project for the expansion of locally based chill and processing facilities with a fund of £80,000 awarded.

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“Whilst the sector relies heavily on a small number of skilled, professional businesses to take its raw product, process it, and ensure that it goes to market – whether retail, hospitality, or export – in tip-top condition, the Covid crisis has demonstrated the fragility of that system but has also highlighted the opportunity for smaller enterprises to be doing similar work serving local producers and meeting an increasing demand both locally and, as research continues to show, further afield," said Mr Cooke.

"This new fund will enable us to help a small number of prospective ventures that are currently at business planning stage over the line, with a commitment to operate as demonstration units in their initial years. It also helps us to take forward a key area in the Scottish Venison Strategy, Beyond the Glen.”