Game and venison supplier Yorkshire Game has been acquired by former Symington’s CEO David Salkeld in a bid to get more wild products in the supermarket meat aisles.
Adrian Lyons, who has been MD at the business since 2014, will continue to run Yorkshire Game alongside Salkeld, who is chairman.
The pair are joined by three additional investors: Leeds-based retail marketing expert Catherine Shuttleworth, Richard Petch, an experienced senior executive in the energy industry and a chartered surveyor who started his career working on a venison farm, and Lee Gouldthorpe, a game specialist who has been involved in the industry for more than 25 years.
Richmond-headquartered Yorkshire Game employs 90 staff and supplies its wild deer, boar and game – sourced from estates in Scotland and northern England – to major retail customers, including Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s, Fortnum & Mason, as well as butchers, wholesale, foodservice and direct to top-end restaurants.
“We are very excited to have this unique opportunity to expand and develop a great Yorkshire business with great product,” said Salkeld, who left Symington’s after nine years in 2016.
“It is our clear commitment to invest back into Yorkshire with an ambitious three-year growth plan for the business. Yorkshire Game has the potential to deliver real growth to the meat category. It is uniquely placed to serve both retailers and foodservice with a quality product that consumers are searching for.
“We know that shoppers are looking for easier ways to add game to their weekly repertoire in easier meal solutions like burgers, casseroles and ready-to-cook meals. This meat provides a high quality, healthy alternative to other meat products and is increasingly an important part of the trend towards healthier living.”
Lyons has more than 30 years of experience in the food industry, with particular expertise in meat, after stints at Grampian Country Food Group, Bernard Matthews, Dawn Meats, Northern Foods and Greencore.
He added: “We need to make game products more accessible to consumers, explain just how easy it is to cook and to extend the availability in retailers. We already have interest in the company’s products from a number of new and significant customers.”