Tapuae Roa, Taranaki’s regional economic development strategy, identified our region’s food industry as one of the four futures with strong growth potential. Accelerating this sector has been the focus of much activity over recent months.

“Taranaki’s food industry is an important part of the regional economy and there are opportunities to grow it even further, especially in value-add niche products,” says Anne Probert, Venture Taranaki’s General Manager, Economy & Sector Development. 

“A key focus of Tapuae Roa centres on looking to the markets and creating entrepreneurial food products that capitalise on global trends such as the shift towards health and functional foods, convenience, authenticity and sensory/indulgent food items.”

Workshops with food companies were held in South Taranaki and New Plymouth during November. The sessions focused on analysing the region as a place to establish and build food businesses, accelerating opportunities and prospects and what needs to be done to grow the sector.

“The importance of being able to access technical and product development assistance that is specific to the food industry was reinforced at these events,” Anne says.

“Similarly, greater understanding of market opportunities and how to reach customers, as well as the importance of good infrastructure and transportation links were amongst the items keenly discussed.”

Venture Taranaki then invited the New Zealand Food Innovation Network to a follow-up session with local food companies. At that event, the range of facilities and technical support mechanisms available food producers through the network’s hubs were outlined.
A comprehensive report on options and recommendations to help accelerate the growth of Taranaki’s food industry will be available at the end of February 2019.