Venison sales went through the roof before Christmas and have continued to grow since, according to a leading supplier of farmed meat to supermarkets.
North Yorkshire-based Holme Farmed Venison, which supplies Sainsbury, Waitrose, Asda and Booths, said its volume sales in the week before Christmas rose 75% year-on-year, which led to it recruiting more employees and deer farmers.
MD Nigel Sampson said the upturn reflected a growing awareness of venison as part of a healthy diet. "Venison is the lowest-fat red meat. It is also very versatile with a wide variety of cuts from steaks and French racks through to sausages and mince. Farmed venison is increasing in popularity because we can consistently supply tender cuts with rich delicious flavour."
Another supplier, Barnsley-based Venico, described the prospects as "exceptional". Spokesman Tim Bastable said Venico was keen to sign up deer farmers, and production might interest dairy farmers.
Next month, New Zealand Venison and The British Deer Association will stage two venison workshops in London to demonstrate simple recipes.