Deer Industry New Zealand, in consultation with venison marketing companies, promotes NZ venison in North America and New Zealand. This activity helps create a positive platform upon which companies supplying these markets can build demand for their brands.
Cervena™ is distinguished from all other venison by the trademarked assurance that the meat has been naturally produced, and processed in accredited plants. The Cervena™ name is derived from the Latin word for deer, Cervidae and the English word venison.
For venison to qualify as Cervena™, it must come from deer that are three years of age or under, free-range farmed, fed grass with natural supplements such as hay, and given no hormones or steroids.
Cervena™ venison is mild but distinctive, tender and exceptionally versatile. It is available year-round and is suited to a wide range of cuisines, even the lightest summer fare.
The licensees of Cervena™ are the five major NZ venison processing and marketing companies: Alliance Group, Duncan NZ Venison, Firstlight Foods, Mountain River and Silver Fern Farms. Because Cervena™ is an appellation (like Champagne), each company markets Cervena™ under its own proprietary brand.
Since Cervena™ was launched in 1995, it has mainly been marketed in North America, Australia and New Zealand. Since 2015, it has also been trial marketed in Europe as part of the Passion2Profit strategy.
The United States is the largest year-round market for chilled NZ venison, with 600 tonnes worth $NZ 12 million sold there in the year ended 30 September 2015. Most of this is Cervena™.
To grow the market even further, DINZ has fine-tuned its promotional strategy in North America.
Cervena ribs, one of a new range of Cervena Venison cuts.
Nigel Morris, who for several years worked as a part-time key account manager for DINZ from his Los Angeles base, is now on full-time contract.
Other changes include:
- The definition of cuts that are eligible for the Cervena™ appellation has been expanded to include all parts of the carcase – not just the traditional high-value prime cuts. Ribs, shoulder tenders and brisket are among the new Cervena™ cuts available.
- The development of a new digital communications strategy, with the aim of finding better ways to communicate with young chefs and those who influence their buying decisions.
Morris works with Cervena™ importers and distributors to promote Cervena™ to key decision makers in the US restaurant industry. This includes helping marketers to service their key accounts, find new customers and support their sales staff.
One thing that hasn’t changed is the popularity of DINZ executive chef Graham Brown’s venison cooking demonstrations. He’s a wonderful asset … he makes our venison exciting and breaks down the myths that can be a barrier to sales.
The winners of the City & Guilds New Zealand 2015 Team Skills competition – Chelsea Johnston and Tracy Todd and front of house, Daniel Alzate Echeverri. Their main was roasted Cervena Venison wrapped in tamarillo with smoked potato, savoy cabbage, baby carrots, rocket puree and jus.
Farm-raised venison is available in many NZ supermarkets and is on the menus of some of the country's finest restaurants.
DINZ assists companies marketing venison in New Zealand with joint promotional funding. To further increase awareness of the quality and availability of venison, DINZ staff and contracted chefs work with food writers, television cooking show producers, nutritionists and health professionals to spread the word that farm-raised venison is not only delicious to eat, it's also lean and healthy, and easy to cook too.
DINZ also works with local culinary training institutions so that every culinary student gets the opportunity to work with farm-raised venison.
Cervena™ cuttings tips and examples of common cuts in a handy reference card. Download here>>