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‘Popular image’ of shooting is helping sales of game

Waitrose has been selling game since 2001, and has pointed to the positive impact chefs, such as Gordon Ramsey and Heston Blumenthal, who have dealt with game meat and its preparation, have had on public opinion.

Gordon Ramsey recently went stalking with BASC and Jamie Oliver went driven shooting as part of his TV programme, Jamie at Home.

Waitrose has enjoyed increases in sales across its range, (which includes venison, partridge and pheasant), especially woodpigeon, which has enjoyed an 80% increase in sales.

Frances Westerham, a game buyer at Waitrose, said: “Our customers have long told us that they want to try game, but aren’t sure how best to cook it. Now, with celebrity chefs championing game on television shows and in their restaurants, we are really seeing game moving from a niche towards a mass market appeal.”

Asda has suggested that its 29% increase in demand for game has been helped by the recent BBC television programme Tudors, starring Jonathan Rhys-Myers as King Henry VIII.

Since the programme, the supermarket has said that game, including pheasant and venison, has become two of its fastest selling lines.

Jim Viggars, from Asda, said: “In the recent past, high prices and hard-to-find supplies have made game and venison so exclusive that only the landed gentry, millionaires and the well-heeled could afford to eat it. However, these meats are a centuries-old part of our English heritage and so we want to bring them to the average man on the street at prices they can afford.”

Morrison’s, which has also recently started to stock game, has reported sales of game meat are up by almost 90% year on year.