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McCain Foods last week announced a $19-million upgrade of the existing Hastings plant in Hawkes Bay, according to Voxy.com.

The upgrade will include enhanced processing equipment, new freezers and additional packing configuration, and new bean processing capability.

Construction at the Hastings plant has commenced and is expected to be completed in 2011, the report said.

McCain Foods Australia/New Zealand managing director, Steve Yung was quoted saying this would boost production at the plant of peas, beans and carrots to over 20,000 tonnes a year.

“Upgrading the Hastings plant requires a significant investment but the long-term future is very positive not only for the plant, but also for the Hawkes Bay community”.

“New Zealand vegetable growers can produce high quality vegetables that are competitively-priced, which if costs are maintained, augers well for the future,” he said.

McCain Foods acquired Hastings site in 1996 from Grower Foods.

The Hastings plant has around 160 employees.

Yung said the increases in vegetable processing at the Hastings site will service the domestic New Zealand market and export to Australia and the Asia-Pacific region.

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