New food hub will serve up innovation
Building of Hawke’s Bay’s new multimillion-dollar food innovation hub will begin in September. Called Foodeast, the hub will offer commercial and industrial spaces for lease, hot-desking and meeting and collaboration stations, built around a cafe. There will also be an in-house team linking businesses to mentors and advisers to help enable them to commercialise new products. A new commercial entity established this month signals the handover of the project from Hastings District Council and the Foodeast Establishment Board to a new company. Inaugural board chairman Craig Foss said, when complete, Foodeast will provide an innovation centre where those in the food industry can base themselves, meet, collaborate and innovate. “This will be a step-change for our food and beverage industry; one that will foster product innovation to enable our industries to develop new offerings for both the New Zealand and international markets.” The Hawke’s Bay Regional Investment Company, Hastings District Council and Progressive Meats are investors in the project and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment provided $12 million of funding. Now that funding is confirmed, land purchased and resource consent received, a start on building the hub on Elwood Rd, Hastings will be made in September. The total construction and establishment cost is estimated at $18m and it is expected to be completed by the end of next year. It is forecast to add $100m to the region’s GDP over 15 years and bring 500 new full-time jobs.