Goat farmers are poised for a major increase in demand for the meat as restaurants and celebrity chefs extend the market beyond its traditional ethnic heartland.

Global demand exceeds 500 million carcases a year with double-digit growth.But despite being the world's most popular meat, it has very little presence in the British market.

Now producers say the tide is beginning to turn thanks to exposure on TV shows such as Gordon Ramsay's The F-Word.

Richard Beard of Cothi Valley Goats, based in Carmarthenshire, said: "Kid meat is very sweet - like lamb in texture, but a little gamier. It is leaner than chicken and very healthy." The Caribbean, African and south European communities have driven demand in the past.

But Beard now sells 300 carcases a year through farmers' markets and does a roaring trade in sausages and salami.

Graig Farm Organics in mid-Wales supplies fresh goat directly to customers, as demand has risen to around half a dozen carcases per week.

Carolyn Kennard at Graig said: "With the increase in demand for goats milk by people with allergies, the number of goats being kept has increased, providing more animals for meat.

"At the moment there are not enough producers to cater for the range of demand from customers."

British Boer Goat Society chairman Peter Bidwell said he expected to treble goat production on his farm to more than 1,000 a year.

But goat meat was a complex market that had defeated retailers in the 1990s, he claimed. "Some customers want male meat, which has a stronger flavour, in particular at tupping time. Others want the feet and heads and some are prepared to pay a premium for kids.

"Then there are 'smokies', which traditionally are prepared with the hair and skin still on and this is burnt off when the meat is cooked in a charcoal pit, though the authorities say they can't stamp this meat properly."