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Business Hawke's Bay Food Facilitator - the background and the benefits

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Kate de Lautour

In October 2011, a Business Hawke’s Bay Food Forum was held at Silky Oak which included; Ministry of Economic Development, NZTE, Massey University, HBRC, Hastings DC,  food companies, Food Hawke’s Bay, MSI and Business Hawke’s Bay.


It was identified that there was no single “go to” person for food businesses wanting to invest, grow and lift productivity.


In February 2012 a Food Working Cluster Group was established, including Hastings District Council (Steve Breen, Vicki Berkhan), NZ Food Innovation Network Representative for HB and FODA  (Sally Gallagher) Regional Business Partner (HB Regional Council, Ministry of Science and Innovation, Michael Bassett-Foss and Jenny Brown) and Food Hawke’s Bay (Jane Libby).


This Working Group initiated the Hawke’s Bay Food and Beverage Cluster Project and began scoping what was required to boost growth in food and beverage businesses utilising a collaborative, regional model and therefore avoiding duplication.


A formal request was made to the Business Hawke’s Bay Board to fund $50k for the Hawke’s Bay Food and Beverage Cluster Project and a part time role at Business Hawke’s Bay to coordinate this Project.


The Working Group identified  that this person would implement the added value food activities for the region at an operational level and, at this time, it was stated in the recommendation to the Business Hawke’s Bay Board,  that there was no resource currently dedicated to this specific food industry activity that could be linked into the synergies provided within Business Hawke’s Bay.

The specifics of the request for funding to the Business Hawkes Bay board included: “establishing a framework with specialist food and beverage sector skills to support food companies in the Hawke’s Bay region to successfully address gaps in technical and commercial capability that are limiting their ability to grow.”

The part time role will provide the resource to coordinate the activity started by the Working Group with an emphasis on the initial scoping and selection of food and beverage companies for the 2nd year of the High Performance Work project.


The role will facilitate links between food companies and industry bodies to improve capability in the area of food and beverage innovation in the form of further processing, applying new technologies packaging or storage innovations, and alternative supply chain or business model options.


It will enable access to the commercial support services in related areas, including investment, supply chain, and channels to market and work in conjunction with the regional NZFIN business development role, and the HPWI consultant/s.

The key performance indicators from the role include:


  • Increasing the volumes of added value products being manufactured in the Hawke’s Bay region resulting in an increased number of jobs
  • Increased revenue as a result of more added value products
  • Increased numbers of companies exporting products manufactured in the Hawkes Bay region
  • Increased level of investment in R&D by HB food companies
  • Increased engagement by HB food companies with national agencies, CRI’s and Universities


In December 2012, Lyn Cheyne was appointed to begin the role of Business Hawke’s Bay Food Business Facilitator from February 2013

This followed an extensive recruitment process and of the ten applicants for the position, three were shortlisted and interviewed by a panel including representatives from the Food Network Working Group and Business Hawkes Bay.

For the last 10 years, Lyn has been the Executive Officer of Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers Association working with over 200 members from grape growing and winery businesses at a national and local level. Prior to her current position Lyn also established her own marketing consultancy when her children where small, lectured at EIT and worked with a range of industries and SME’s.  She has retail supply and sales management experience from a previous position with Mainland Products Ltd and The Good Taste Company.  With an Honours degree in business management, Lyn has both the technical knowledge and experience to drive success in this sector.