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Manager, Food Innovation


Chicago, Illinois

Job Code:


# of Openings:



Leads and drives product innovation projects and platforms for the assigned customer.  Must have a blend of strong food science skills and a passionate interest in culinary arts to solve complex product solutions. Strong ability to communicate and engage with suppliers and customers a must, with the ability to influence decisions when appropriate.   Prior experience with liquid product development necessary for success in this role. Strong project management skills required. Up to 50% travel required for role.

Key Responsibilities Include:

  • Works with cross-functional partners (marketing, purchasing, operations, and engineering) to drive all food innovation initiatives for assigned projects.  Key categories include:
    • Fudges, Caramels, and Particulates
    • Beverage Syrups
    • Low Water Activity Fillings
    • Savory Sauces and Condiments
  • Works with director to translate key strategic initiatives into goals and deliverables for all products and customers. 
  • Stays aware of industry news and trends to assist with forming product strategies. 
  • Keeps organization abreast of technical product innovations and applies them appropriately to positively impact the business.
  • Partners with the Research & Development and Commercialization team to ensure products are successfully produced for the system, including attending plant trials when needed
  • Partners with QA, Regulatory, etc. to ensure safety and consistency of all products
  • Leads and promotes cross-functional knowledge sharing and best practices
  • Engages with the customer, helping to identify product opportunities and solutions.  Articulates customer needs back to organization.  Works with customer to understand goals, and establish guidelines for projects. Understands customerís operational platforms, and develops products to meet their needs.
  • With procurement, be able to identify, partner, develop, and manage a supplier base to deliver technical and creative product solutions when needed. 
  • Participating in product innovation sessions and consumer research sessions when needed. 
  • Helps establish an innovation culture for the organization


  1. OPPORTUNITY IDENTIFICATION: With marketing and sales, identifies new innovation opportunities by understanding industry trends, strategic customer growth strategies, and new ingredient capabilities. 
  2. BUSINESS ALIGNMENT: Works with marketing and sales to understand the business plan, and the potential impact any new product would have to the current core platforms
  3. IDEA GENERATION: Works with marketing and sales to develop new ideas for customers.  Parti ci pates in brainstorming sessions, idea refinement,  and idea prioritiziation.  Helps develop the idea brief when needed by adding key product details.
  4. CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT:  Participate in presentations to customers showing new ideas and prototypes. Optim i zes prototypes as needed based on customer and consumer needs.  Represents BRF on customer/supplier visits at conventions and conferences and in the presentation of research related information as required.


  1. Executes Innovation prototypes. 
  2. Provides formulation leadership/ oversight for the assigned new product initiatives. Works with cross-functional partners (procurement, R&D, applications engineers) on recipe development
  3. Leads exploration and investigation of new ingredients used in BRF Portfolio.
  4. Leads technical communication and interaction with key suppliers to achieve the innovation assignment objective.
  5. Owns initial risk assessment, pricing request, and manufacturing model


  1. Defines the impact of strategic business objectives on people requirements and develops strategies and initiatives that ensure the right people with the right skills are in the right place at the right time.
  2. Delegates authority and accountability to staff for appropriate responsibilities and decisions that are consistent with the scope of their capabilities, rules and regulations of regulatory authorities (where applicable), training, and policies of the organization.  Ensures work is scheduled effectively; and checkpoints and controls are set for monitoring progress.  

Education & Experience

Bachelorís Degree in Food Science or related scientific discipline (Masters preferred).   At least five years of experience including three to five years of product innovation leadership responsibility as a food technologist.  Prior experience managing food technologists preferred.  Previous experience in a production environment (ex. scale-ups, start-ups) and sensory analysis experience necessary.  A passion for food and culinary arts a plus.

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