Management, Product Development & Ingredient Innovations, Research & Development
The Research and Development Team Leader will manage all aspects of product development and drive innovation and differentiation for Exclusive Brands products. Will execute objectives and product development processes in order to ensure full alignment with brand standards. Supports Exclusive Brand product ideation, scoping, sensory evaluation, development, culinary, business case, technical requirements and quality assurance.
Duties and Responsibilities:
Leads and carries out product development activities across multiple product categories including direction for vendor bench top prototypes, plant testing, scale-up and coordination of all aspects including sensory testing, consumer insights, customer required documentation, etc.
Manages team of Product Developers, R&D Technician, Research Chef and Sensory Program Manager
Leads stage gate process for product development, from concept through production
Defines, continuously improves and manages the overall product development process including new products, product improvements and gross margin improvements; encompassing product formulation and packaging innovations
Directs team to evaluate vendor-proposed product samples using sensory analysis and reviews related specifications for new and existing food, supplements and personal care consumer products
Implements the category development strategy to strengthen suppliers, quality and innovation
Identifies and implements product portfolio opportunities by innovation and competitor analysis
Implements action plans to resolve issues across product portfolios in assigned categories
Executes product renovation/reformulation efforts (such as sodium reduction or Non-GMO certification)
Develops, executes, and initiates ideation sessions and development with vendors
Helps identify product development priorities and timetables
Manages the integrity of product consistent with the brand definition and strategy
Provides technical and strategic leadership for Innovation & Quality team and Exclusive Brands by defining and executing new products that will help to differentiate the brand and contribute to growth of the business in assigned categories
Works with Testing & Product Team Leader to develop and implement strategies for the on-going improvement of existing product quality
Continually seeks opportunities, often in conjunction with suppliers, to reduce overall costs and improve quality of product in assigned categories
Works closely with manufacturers, Supplier Quality Assurance, Testing and Procurement teams on the First Production approval of Exclusive Brands products
Leads and manages the team feedback, sensory guidance and technical direction between Consumer Insights and the product vendor and or other external technical resources
Identifies unique product attributes and benefits to achieve brand differentiation related to seasonal promotions, key business shifts and new product concepts in assigned categories
Perform other miscellaneous product development duties as necessary
Bachelor’s degree strongly preferred; Graduate Degree a plus
Background in Food Science & Technology as well as a strong culinary background
3 years of professional work experience required; 5 years preferred
Hands on experience in grocery or retail environment strongly preferred
Experience in building and nurturing brands; private brand management a plus
Knowledge of food labeling and FDA/USDA regulations is helpful
General understanding of product development, manufacturing and commercialization
Familiarity of retailer web based specification systems would be ideal.
Must possess the ability to manage multiple projects and priorities and deliver against rapid development timelines
Demonstrated ability to lead and develop teams
At Whole Foods Market we provide a fair and equal employment opportunity for all team members and candidates regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, or disability. Whole Foods Market hires and promotes individuals solely on the basis of their qualifications for the position to be filled.
America’s Healthiest Grocery Store™Who are we? Well, we seek out the finest natural and organic foods available, maintain the strictest quality standards in the industry, and have an unshakeable commitment to sustainable agriculture. Add to that the excitement and fun we bring to shopping for groceries, and you start to get a sense of what we’re all about. Oh yeah, we’re a mission-driven company too.