The deer industry is trying to resurrect interest in New Zealand venison in its biggest export market, Germany, after a significant fall in sales there.
Deer Industry New Zealand's venison marketing services manager, Innes Moffat, told an industry conference in Wellington that the New Zealand product is under pressure from increased competition from cheaper European venison coming from the likes of Spain and Poland.
He said New Zealand has dropped from nearly 60% of the German game market to about 30% in the last year.
Mr Moffat said the recession has encouraged other European countries to produce more venison and export it into Germany.
He said the big mover has been Poland whose total game exports have increased from just over 1000 tonnes to nearly 4000 last year.
Mr Moffat said a programme of events is under way to increase awareness of New Zealand venison, to convince young chefs of its quality and to encourage its use outside the main game season.
He said the high dollar is adding to the price pressure on venison exports.