Marks and Spencer have announced that as of next season they will only be sourcing gamebirds that are lead-free and BGA-assured. The retailer sent along a senior representative to a recent meeting of shooting agents to explain that BGA-assured and lead free was the future of the game meat market, and M+S wanted to get there first.
This is huge news not just for those shoots who want to supply their game birds to the major retailers. M+S are signposting the way to encourage many more people eating game, and we have no doubt that other outlets will rush to catch up. The BGA mission is to grow the number of places game is sold, the amount of game going into those outlets and the number of people choosing to buy it. That mission is underpinned by our assurance scheme and promoted by our EatWild campaign, and we know that the more shoots sign up for assurance and opt to go lead free, the more successful this mission will be.
We also know other BGA processors are just as keen to secure their supply of BGA-assured, lead-free birds, because this is what the market wants. That is why we have taken on two new Regional Development Officers to help new shoots get started with assurance and navigate their audit. Sarah Broomhead and Sam Phillips are now the first point of contact for anyone wanting to talk about how their shoot or game farm can participate in getting more people eating more game. They bring a diversity of practical, real-world experience to the BGA and will be our boots on the ground in the community. They would love to hear from you.
The future of game shooting hinges on the massive twelve months that lie ahead of us, as game dealers call for lead free and assured game and sporting agents prepare to work exclusively with BGA shoots from next year. It is important we approach these changes in the spirit of dialogue and conversation. I spoke for half an hour at our recent BGA Symposium on how we can meet these challenges, along with a range of special guests including the extra special game chef Mike Robinson. Feel free to give it a listen, then please respond to our end of season survey on the direction you would like to see from BGA. We have had hundreds of replies already, and the responses are fascinating. We are here to serve the community, and we are listening.
Finally, thank you to everyone who has sent over the levy they collected last season. It really is the lifeblood of BGA, and in difficult times like these we persevere through the support of those investors in standards and champions of game-meat who collect and contribute to the levy.
British Game Assurance