New Zealand’s deer industry claims big win in Australia

New Zealand’s deer velvet industry is claiming a big win, with producer and processor Mountain Red poised to begin exporting into Australia after having its product licensed by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration.

It’s been a long hard battle to access the Australian market, said Mountain Red director Karen Morley.

The licence means Nelson-based Mountain Red’s range of therapeutic products can be distributed in Australia and even be prescribed by general practitioners practising integrated medicine.
“We’ve spent a hell of a long time trying to get into Australia,” Morley said. “The regulations are so hard.”

While Australia has its own deer velvet industry, only Mountain Red’s velvet is licensed by the TGA, Morley said. The company has also stitched up a distribution deal with Australia’s third largest distributor.

Mountain Red has taken a different approach to market, Morley explained, opting not to export frozen whole stick velvet like many others, instead opting to produce and export value-added finished product.

“It’s a whole new ball game, sending finished product,” Morley said.

The profile of deer velvet in Australia had declined from a decade ago, she said, but Mountain Red would be undertaking marketing and advertising in health practitioner catalogues to turn that around and raise brand awareness.

Morley said another reason to not follow the frozen whole stick export model, a business she described as “commodity”, was to be able to service high-profile clients such as athletes.
That required traceability back to the farm that produced it.

“We set out to do something different and develop the best bloodlines,” she said.

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Posted on September 2nd 2013