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Food Network to boost industry - attract new business

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Kate de Lautour

Hawkes Bay’s status as New Zealand’s leading food producing region is a step closer to being confirmed with the creation of a food network facilitator role, within the region’s economic development entity, Business Hawke’s Bay.

The new position is currently being advertised by Business Hawke’s Bay on the website www.businesshawkesbay.co.nz

Business Hawke’s Bay business development manager Michaela Vodanovich said the facilitator would build upon existing capability in food processing and value-added production and be responsible for the development of companies wishing to grow their business, improve their market offer and capitalise on new sales opportunities.


“Priority will be given to identifying the businesses requiring this commercialisation support, as well as working with the wider Hawke’s Bay Food Cluster Network (HBFCN), which aims to increase the manufacture and marketing of the region’s produce.”


The HBFCN is a proactive, operational team including Food Hawke’s Bay, Hastings District Council, Ministry of Science and Innovation, NZ Food Innovation Network and Business Hawke’s Bay.  

“The facilitator will be critical to the success of this collaborative network,” Ms Vodanovich said.

The importance of food exports to the region were being recognised as a significant contributor to the local economy.

“If we look at the Governments Economic Growth Plan it sees food exports trebling to about $60 billion by 2025. “


“For Hawke’s Bay’s economy to grow and thrive we must commit to adding value to the food we grow locally and produce more high quality packaged and processed foods for export.”


Ms Vodanovich said it was crucial that the region invested in commercialisation, ensuring local food producers had access to business improvement specialists and capital to invest in research, new product development, plant and equipment, sales and marketing and land intensification.

The role will be supported by Business Hawke’s Bay’s  stakeholders including the Regional Business Partner, Ministry of Science and Innovation, Business Mentors, Work and Income Support, and Export Certification of Origin service, which includes Free Trade Agreement certification.

Work with Business Hawke’s Bay projects, including the China Trade Co-ordinator, High Performance Work Initiative and attraction programmes would also play an important role ensuring new channels to market are explored and current relationships capitalised on.

“This role will also help us to mechanise opportunities that have been introduced to the region but have not been actioned because of a lack of resource.”


Ms Vodanovich said projects would support current productivity as well as potentially adding new business capability.