British venison retail sales were worth £14.4 million in 2019, an increase of 11 per cent, according to the first figures to ever accurately gauge the value of the market.
A total of 1,221 tonnes of the meat was sold through supermarkets in the year, according to estimates from research company Kantar for the Scottish Venison Association and Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society and funded by the Scottish government.
Double that volume of mostly wild venison is thought to have been sold to independent butchers and foodservice outlets.
Waitrose accounted for a third of total retail sales, with its own-label brand and that of market-lead Highland Game, accounting for 59 per cent of the market.
Sales of primary cuts rose 43 per cent in 2019 to £7.1m.
Just 13 per cent of venison consumers were Scottish, with 30 per cent over 65 years old.
Taste, quality, health and how local the meat was to them were reasons why shoppers bought venison, although it is still seen as a treat meat.
Bill Bewsher, chairman of the Scottish Venison Association, said: “With this new research we are now much better informed, as well as having confirmation that there is healthy growth for venison across the retail sector.
“We are keen to maintain this momentum once the current constraints of the Covid-19 crisis and uncertainties surrounding Brexit have passed.”