Memorandum submitted by the British Association for

Shooting and Conservation (BASC) (SFS 08)

 

Securing food supplies

 

BASC is pleased to be able to submit the following comments to the above Inquiry.

 

British Association for Shooting and Conservation

 

BASC was founded in 1908 as the Wildfowlers Association of Great Britain and Ireland and is constituted as an Industrial and Provident Society (IPS) with a membership in excess of 130,000, and it is also the largest representative body for sporting shooting in the UK.

 

BASC actively promotes good firearms licensing practice, training, education, research and practical help with conservation.

 

BASC aims to promote and protect sporting shooting and the wellbeing of the countryside throughout the UK and overseas, and believes that all who shoot should conduct themselves according to the high standards of safety, sportsmanship and courtesy with full respect for the quarry and a practical interest in wildlife conservation.

 

BASC expertise in shooting matters is widely recognised and it is routinely consulted by a variety of government departments and statutory and non-statutory bodies.

 

Comments

 

We note in particular the section of the Inquiry regarding "What are likely to emerge on the demand side of the food system in the UK, in terms of consumer tastes and habitats and tastes, and what will be their main effect?" What use could be made of local food networks?

 

BASC would make the following specific points with regard to this section-

 

The market for game and exotic meat has been buoyant over the last two years achieving total sales of 61 million in 2006, roughly 50% higher than sales in 2004 when Mintel last reported on this market.

(Data source-Mintel 2007)

 

Game meat accounts for 93% of total market sales. Venison and pheasant have been the main meats with growing consumption. Much of the recent growth in the game market has been chiefly the result of improved distribution for game meat, especially in supermarkets. There still remains the opportunity to improve distribution, partly to increase the number of stores in each supermarket outlet that retails game, but more significantly by increasing the shelf space that is currently allocated to game meat. This will probably be achieved by a wide ranging programme of new product development by the retailers and investment by them in high profile promotion and marketing.

 

Game meat is a tasty alternative to poultry as it is low in fat and high in minerals. These attributes fit well as consumers search for new meats that will benefit their health. As game meat is both healthy and tasty it appeals as a welcome alternative to traditional meats.

 

BASC has promoted game meat as a local, nutritious healthy and free range food source, harvested from a sustainable surplus by game shoots across the country, since the mid 1960s.

 

BASC's game marketing initiative, Game's On was launched in 2005 and since then has created a first class web portal and distributed over 150,000 high quality recipe leaflets through a network of game fairs, game tasting events and through game dealers and their customers.

 

The sales of game doubled between 2004 and 2006. Sales for game meat such as venison, pheasant and grouse soared 46% during that time to reach 57 million by the end of 2006. The increase in sales of everyday red meat and poultry grew by only 5% in comparison. (Data source Mintel-February 2007).

 

The popularity of game shows no sign of abating with sales set to rise by a further 47% to hit over 84 million by 2011. (Data source Mintel-February 2007). Game meat is particularly popular as it can reduce considerably food miles as the majority of consumers of game meat are located in areas local to shooting activity.

 

Growth in the market for game meat will increasingly rely on moving consumers' perceptions of these meats from being suitable only for special-occasion use to meats consumed on a regular, if infrequent, basis.

 

The market for game meat is supply-led rather than demand-driven. The seasonal supply of game as a result of the shooting seasons could be an obstacle for the development of the game meat market, although game can now be sold all the year round, as long is it has been legally shot.

 

The game meat market is currently relying almost entirely on PR, point of sale promotional materials and game tasting events, organised by the BASC Game's On campaign and others.

 

The committee inquiry should consider how best to increase the consumer taste for game meat as a local, nutritious and healthy food source, and that restaurant and pubs, farmers' markets, game processors and butchers should be used more effectively as local food networks promoting the benefits of game meat consumption and at the same time working towards reducing food miles.

 

 

 

British Association for Shooting and Conservation

 

January 2009