Food and beverage businesses in Hawke's Bay are now able to set up in shop at a planned $20 million Food Innovation Hub in Hastings.

The 16.5ha Tomoana Food Hub development is now offering design, build and lease options to food-related businesses at a large site next door to Heinz Wattie's' main production plant in Hastings.

"Up to 9.7ha is available for the development of modern food grade premises for the processing and manufacturing of food and beverage products on attractive, flexible lease terms," Bayleys Havelock North and Hastings branch manager Daniel Moffitt said.

"Businesses servicing the food and beverage sector, such as storage, packaging, distribution or transport companies, as well as research facilities, can also be accommodated."

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Moffitt and Jake Smith of Bayleys Havelock North office have been appointed sole leasing agents for Tomoana Food Hub, which is being developed by a long established Hawke's Bay business, owned by the Taylor family, which also operates Tomoana Warehousing and Transport.

Last week the project received $215,000 from the Government's Provincial Growth Fund to help fund a feasibility study and business case for the project, which has the support of Hastings District Council, Napier City Council, Hawke's Bay Regional Council and businesses.

Hastings District Council, Napier City Council and 13 other organisations engaged in the food, beverage and agri-tech sectors have contributed $35,000 towards the study and business case, with HDC footing $5000 of that.

A discovery phase report into the project in 2017 received input from more than 50 food and beverage-focused organisations, all expressing interest in the project.

Development manager Logan Taylor said the hub was "much more" than just an industrial business park.

"We are creating a collaborative workspace for food and beverage businesses to cluster and share knowledge, by-products, energy, logistics and infrastructure, resulting in increased productivity and profitability.

"Our specific zoning only allows businesses in the food value chain, which means neighbours are always going to be other complementary food businesses – there'll be no heavy industrial activity, which is important from a food safety and market perception angle.

"We're keen to encourage collaboration and innovation whereby both small start-ups and large multinational businesses can co-locate at the hub and focus on adding value, while creating strong brands that can take on global markets."

Several companies were already come on board, including Australasia's largest supplier of food cans Jamestrong which has established a new 7500sq m tin-plate coating plant building on 2ha close to its existing can forming plant in Hastings and large customer, Kraft Heinz.

Other occupants include multinational pallet and container pooling services company CHEP, Tomoana Warehousing and Fonterra.

New Zealand Miracle Water has also established a state-of-the art 9500sq m food grade aseptic manufacturing facility on a 2.5ha site at the Tomoana Food Hub to produce packaged water products mostly for export. The company was also tapping into pure artesian water directly underground.

Moffitt said individual bores on each lot also supply water for amenities, fire protection and processing/manufacturing.

"The Heretaunga artesian aquifer is a pristine source of fresh water offering a natural asset that is unrivalled anywhere in the country and which provides significant competitive advantage for food and beverage producing occupants.

"Hastings council is also committed to supporting the success and further development of Tomoana Food Hub. Every possible assistance is given to companies wishing to relocate here."