The business was founded in 1997 by Danish entrepreneur Christian Nissen, and says it is now the largest supplier of wild venison produce in the UK, processing up to 70,000 wild deer a year and employing 100-plus staff – as well as turning over £13m.
The majority (90 per cent) of the wild venison is sourced within Scotland, of which about half is from the newly formed public body Forestry & Land Scotland with the balance coming from more than 200 private estates.
The new deal with Tesco extends Highland Game’s partnership with the retailer in Scotland and sees the company’s core products, venison steaks and venison grillsteaks, now on sale in stores across England and Wales following a successful trial. Meanwhile, on 7 October, its new, individual short-crust wild Scottish venison pies will go on sale in Tesco stores in Scotland.
MD Nissen said: “We’ve had a very clear vision from the start; to make quality venison products easily accessible for the whole nation. These new deals with Tesco and Morrisons mean that for the first time, Highland Game venison will be available in almost every UK postcode, from Shetland right down to Land’s End.”
James Lamont, local sourcing buying manager for Tesco Scotland, said: “We are always looking for opportunities to serve our customers new and exciting products. We are delighted to be working with Highland Game to offer Tesco customers in England and Wales these delicious, quality Scottish venison products and we are confident our customers will love them.”
Highland Game said that when it launched in 1997, roughly 95 per cent of domestically produced venison was exported, with the rest sold through select butchers and delicatessens.
Today, 70 per cent of Highland Game’s produce is sold domestically to key retailers including Tesco, Morrisons, Waitrose, Asda and the Co-operative.
The firm has also switched to recyclable silver trays across its whole product range, and says that to meet the increase in popularity of venison over the last five to ten years, Highland Game and its partners have invested in the maintenance of a sustainable and reliable supply of wild venison, and in plant, machinery and human resource.