People of London are quickly changing their attitudes away from the “Bambi Effect” and eating more venison.
Many people are turned off to the thought of eating many wild game species due to the cute images that pop in their heads from watching too many Disney movies. Nothing holds more true to the “Bambi Effect” than when people go to eat venison. The image of a baby fawn staring back at them from their plate is just too much.
The inability to eat or kill an animal perceived as “cute” or “adorable” is referred to as the “Bambi Effect.” It has prevented many people the world over from enjoying some of the best wild game meats available.
No one knows more about how the “Bambi Effect” can hurt businesses than Andy Waugh. His family owns a wild game butchering business in Scotland, and he recently opened a new restaurant called Mac and Wild in Soho, London.
This stigma even made his family miss out on a large contract with a major supermarket due to fear of them ruining their public image from serving wild meats, such as venison.
“They pulled out at the last minute. They said they were ‘worried about the Bambi Effect,'” said Waugh. “Now they are banging down my dad’s door to try and get it.”
Current generations are beginning to overlook the “Bambi Effect” though, and this change isn’t more apparent than in London. Waitrose, an online grocery shopping site in London, has shown its sales for venison have doubled year after year.
Although many people are beginning to try venison and other games, they still have a serious disconnect of where their food actually comes from.
“On Broadway I used to have stuffed pheasants hanging up. They looked real, and people would scream. They don’t like that reality. But they’ll go into KFC and eat a bucket of chicken, because that link isn’t there,” says Waugh. “How do you change that perception? Giving them amazing food is the main thing. If they can see and taste the quality then that resonates.”
Many chefs including Waugh are looking to change the perception of wild game by bringing the best standard to their restaurants.
“There was a stigma about game, people thought it was posh. But supermarkets stock it now, so it is not just this food you used to get in Mayfair butchers.”
Hopefully with the continued use of wild game in more restaurants people will continue to want to eat more natural foods. They may even want to learn the skill-set to head out and learn to hunt down their own wild meat.