Tauranga-based export companies are making a big impression overseas while pushing the Kiwi innovation and providing jobs in the Bay.
Award-winning company Bluelab employs 40 staff in Tauranga with another 15 people based in the US and Europe.
Chief executive Greg Jarvis said the company produced state-of-the-art monitoring and control equipment that tested key variables so growers could optimise crop growth.
He said it had experienced huge international growth, particularly into America and now 99 per cent of sales were export.
''Anything that is greenhouse-grown is definitely our sweet spot. It's the water and nutrient solution that actually grows the various crops, from tomatoes to lettuce to capsicums, so those sort of things.''
''Our competitors are large multinational companies and I feel one of our real strengths is our ability to listen to our customers.''
Blue Lab's turnover had lifted by about $5 million last year and Jarvis said it would continue to develop in the United States and the European markets.
The company also won the Excellence in Innovation category at the New Zealand International Business Awards. The judges praised the innovation culture Bluelab has developed among their team.
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Meanwhile, Zespri head of communications and external relations Michael Fox said staff numbers - which included those based offshore - had increased from about 530 in 2018 to 650 last year.
Operating revenue reached more than $3 billion for the first time in 2019 with $1.8b going directly back to growers.
He said Zespri has celebrated several milestones including moving into its state of the art
multi-million dollar head office at Mount Maunganui.
The long-awaited commercialisation of red kiwifruit was another highlight alongside the export volumes of Sungold kiwifruit outstripping green.
''Our success today is the result of a lot of hard work from a lot of people. As part of that, we're fortunate to have a vibrant and diverse global team at Zespri, who are helping us deliver strong returns to growers and communities in New Zealand and around the world.''
Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Matt Cowley said Captain Cook named this area the Bay of Plenty due to its plentiful plantations for international trade.
''Today is no different as we are selling our high-quality products to overseas markets. Many people benefit when our exporters are doing well, such as contractors working with kiwifruit or IT start-up companies helping logistic companies to innovate.''
''Exporting our high-value products have been part of Tauranga's history for generations and it will continue for generations to come.''
Cowley said he was also looking forward to seeing Tauranga benefit from the research going into marine science and the potential for a high-value marine sector based in Tauranga.
''New Zealand's best exporters are known for their innovative approaches to complex issues. They focus their efforts on niche segments on a global scale and execute it incredibly well.''
Priority One chief executive Nigel Tutt said export companies were an integral part of the Western Bay of Plenty economy.
''We're seeing a rise in manufacturing and research and development-oriented exporters alongside our traditional primary production export base. The Western Bay is fortunate to have a number of great exporters like Bluelab, Trimax, Robotics Plus and Page Macrae, among many, that lead the way."
Data from Statistics New Zealand shows the value of exports out of the Port of Tauranga had jumped from $21.035b in 2017 to $23.2b in 2018.
Strategic communications senior media adviser James Weir said Tauranga was the biggest port by far and accounts for half of all exports which was mostly dairy and logs.