Head of R&D Labs and Product Observatory
Job Location: Chicago
Ferrero is a family-owned company with a truly progressive and global outlook and iconic brands such as Nutella®, Tic Tac®, Ferrero Rocher®, Raffaello®, Kinder Bueno® and Kinder Surprise®. As the love for our brands continues to grow, so too does our global reach. Represented in more than 50 countries, with products sold in more than 170, the Ferrero Group is loved by generations around the world. The secret to our global success? 38,767 dedicated employees who celebrate care and quality to craft a business, careers and brands we are proud of. Join us, and you could be one of them.
Ferrero is committed to building a diverse and inclusive culture in which all employees feel welcomed and appreciated and have the same opportunities. We believe all of our people are equally talented in their own way. In nurturing the curiosity and natural abilities of our employees, we provide them, generation after generation, the means to succeed personally and professionally, enabling them to craft their journey at Ferrero. The diversity of our talents is what makes our work environment multicultural, innovative and highly rewarding.
About the Role:
This exciting and new Senior role will be responsible for leading all activities related to two key functions in the new N. American Innovation Center located in downtown Chicago:
1. R&D Laboratory team: cross-category product development activities (including but not limited to spreads, confectionary and ice cream) aimed to deliver unique solutions across new products (with 3+ year horizon) but also for the improvement of existing semi-finished and finished products. These activities will need to fully satisfy our strategic initiatives, internal needs, and will need to deliver superior product’s taste and architecture. This function will also closely partner and support the Center’s Raw Materials R&D and Open Innovation teams to scout, test, develop, and/or commercialize unique Ingredient Technology
2. Product Observatory team: this team will closely monitor our products as well as the competition through sensory evaluation using structured tasting panels and standardized methods. Additionally, the team will manage the archive of our products for the Group and will be responsible for the sourcing, archiving and analyzing of competitor’s products
R&D Laboratory team:
• Independently ensures the timely and efficient execution of all laboratory tests related to new product development in accordance with the evolution of the legislation, ensuring analytical and interpretative reliability to protect the consumer, while strongly leading and supporting the related creative decision-making product development process
• Develops a solid understanding of needs, opportunities and possible solutions across Sweet Packaged Food (SPF) categories. Proposes solutions aimed at improving product-related aspects (quality, technology, sensorial, etc.)
• Conduct activities related to the improvement (i.e. stability, cost, procurement, processing) of existing semi-finished ingredients and products to improve the organoleptic and food structure of the relevant finished product
• Ensures a data-driven research and product development process with the appropriate record-keeping and statistical validation process
• Oversees the evolution of new laboratory equipment and resources to maintain and evolve capabilities (i.e. improvements and new investments proposals)
• Be a key ally and work closely with the rest of the Innovation Center team (Open Innovation, Raw Materials R&D, Food Trends, and Market Specialist teams) to ideate, develop, and test new products
Product Observatory team:
• Independently manages all activities related to sensory analysis (through different types of tests depending on the objective and needs) including the formation and maintenance of our tasting panel as well as the execution of tests delivering against the agreed upon objectives aligned with the cross-functional team
• Supports Food Quality Department (FQD) and Category Technical Development (Brand Product Development teams) in defining tasting methods
• Supports the definition of the shelf-life curve of our products following specific analyses and studies and issues the relevant technical documentation
• Operational tracking of competitors' products on the market, including both sensory and physiochemical analysis (in coordination with FQD)
• Structures and manages the retrieval, archiving and storage system for our products, raw materials and semi-finished products (arrival of samples from plants, cataloguing, archiving and operational archive management)
• Accountable for team management including recruiting, managing, motivating, coaching, developing and succession planning activities following Ferrero Group’s values, motivation, competence development and empowerment
Who we are looking for:
• At least 12+ years’ experience in the in Food and Beverages CPG companies in Product Development roles (preferred) and/or related food science, nutrition, sensory, innovation roles
• Advanced degree (Master’s and/or Ph.D degree) in Food Science, Food Engineering or related discipline preferred but not required
• Successfully executed product development activities from idea to commercialization in partnership with cross-functional teams
• Strong competence in ingredient functionality, formulation, sensory evaluation, shelf-life tasting, scale-up, commercialization; excellent knowledge of Local Regulations, Food law and nutrition
• Strong critical thinking and creative problem-solving skills with a solid strategic mindset; intermediate commercial acumen and acquired knowledge of SPF industry is preferred
• Creative, enthusiastic, curious, proactive, collaborative, analytical, with strong communication skills and with a can-do attitude
• Experience working in an international and multi-cultural environment
How to be successful in the role and at Ferrero:
Consumers, quality and care are at the heart of everything we do. So, to be successful at Ferrero, you’ll need to be just as consumer and product centric as we are - dedicated to crafting brilliant results for consumers around the world.
Strong analytical mind, attention to details on one hand, and ability to cooperate with employees at all levels and great organisational skills on the other, would be key to success. Employee contribution and engagement at Ferrero is based on the individual, team and organisation dimension, so you should have the ability to work independently, as a part of the team and build good relations with stakeholders at all levels. Being flexible and dealing with a dynamic working environment as well as the ability to embed new knowledge and skills in existing competencies will definitely help you to become high performer here.
Ferrero N.A. provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or genetics.