Growing the market for game

Steven Frampton and Michael Canon set up Wild & Game in 2017 with the aim of boosting the sale of game meat. Steve explains how it all started and why the sector looks set to continue flourishing.

Wild and Game founders Steven and Michael wanted to address the issue that far more game is produced in the UK than is consumed, mainly they felt because many people were not familiar with it as an ingredient and did not feel confident cooking with it.

Their solution was to create a food range based around some of the UK’s most popular meals, from tikka masala and chilli to pies, sausages and pates. They also decided to stock a comprehensive range of ready-to-cook game in the hope that customers who had tried and loved the ready meals and pies would decide to start cooking with game themselves. Nearly three years on, the company has built a loyal following and is adding to its range on a monthly basis.

What made you start Wild & Game?

We could see there was a need for more to be done to increase the sale of game meat in the UK, as could many others. There were a lot of very good initiatives looking to increase the use of game within the shooting community and the distribution of meat through charities. We felt the alternative way forward was to make our project self-funding and to really concentrate on increasing the appeal of game beyond the shooting community.

How did you and Michael meet and what prompted you to work together on this?

We have both shot together for many years and share a passion for shooting, we would also like to see it continue for future generations. We have both had careers in very different businesses and Michael suggested it might be a good to come out of retirement to see what we could do to help increase the sale of game meat. Things have come a long way since discussing the project over dinner in 2015.

Do you see the game meat market gathering pace? What do you put this down to?

The market is definitely gathering pace, over the last 12 months interest has been growing at an incredible rate. There are a number of different initiatives running at present, including Wild and Game, which are raising awareness of game meat. I also believe that customers are looking for something different with provenance and want to make heathier choices.

The thought and ethical dimensions of “industrial farming” are pushing many people away from many types of meat, with many people not wanting to give up meat, game is seen by many as a really good alternative.

Do supermarkets have a role to play in promoting game meat too? Absolutely they do.  I still find it difficult to understand why supermarkets have not seen the light and started to realise that game is being sought after by many of their customers. Where once it was either seen as too expensive or difficult to cook both have been remedied by the abundance of game and the thousands of recipes available at the click of a mouse. I am certain it is only a matter of time before we see game in every supermarket and as a “mainstream” alternative.

How are you planning to expand through 2021 and beyond?

We are looking to expand our range and reach massively during 2021 and feel with have only scratched the surface with our current business.  We can see many other opportunities for Wild and Game and will be looking to increase the availability of game to many more customers.

Finally, what’s your favourite game recipe?

Pan fried grouse and good paté on toast.

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