From pest to plate: Wild game meat supplier turning pests into a delicious meal

From pest to plate: Wild game meat supplier turning pests into a delicious meal

Premium Game are in the business of taking pest animals and turning them into delicious food options. They have previously won the Outstanding Food Producers Award for their aged venison steak in 2021 and this year have won the Spirit of New Zealand Special Award.

Darren Clifford and his brother purchased Premium Game five years ago and runs the procurement and land ownership side of the business.

He told REX host Dominic George their biggest initial challenge was that a lot of consumers thought wild game was a risky product to purchase and eat.

"To provide that surety around the fact that all of the stringent testing that's done and the land owner mapping and planning to make sure that there is no opportunity for anything to go wrong at that level," Clifford said.

"To have a meat inspector on-site to inspect every one of those animals as they go through to give that surety to the consumer that that product is 100% safe and it is."

Clifford is particularly proud of the business's ability to kill two birds with one stone by providing a delicious meal while simultaneously removing harmful pests from farmland.

"You can be proud of the fact that you're eating a pest that we need to control in New Zealand.

"Each of those has a place on a plate and at the same time we are doing our part to control those animals in the environment."

Although he isn't aware of any in Marlborough, Clifford said Wallabies pose a significant threat to local vegetation and make up a large portion of the game they hunt.

"Wallabies are a big challenge.

"We've now got a number of guys who are shooting between 100 and 400 a week for meat for us and that has been a good consistent control in those areas.

"The landowners have come away happy feeling like they are making a difference in controlling the numbers and we are obviously delighted to have that product on our range."

Listen to the full chat between Premium Game Co-Owner Darren Clifford and Dominic George above.

To check out more episodes listen to the REX Today Podcast anytime on your favourite streaming platforms including SpotifyApple Music and Rova or tune in to REX Today live on Magic from 5 am to 6 am every weekday.

Visit the Rural Exchange Facebook or Instagram page for more information and regular updates from the REX team.