DiscoverFresh Foods is a leader in the ready to eat & bakery manufacturing industry. In addition to our own line of fine food products we provide solutions to Private Label, National Brand, and co-pack clients across the US and the world. Our services aim at achieving client goals by focusing on the desired end user experience. As a leader in the industry, we constantly adapt to new technologies and are looking for qualified individuals to join our growing team to support our efforts.
The Innovation Director is responsible for designing, executing, and overseeing DiscoverFresh Foods’ R&D function. This is an exceptional opportunity for the person in this role to take our R&D function and team to the next level with formulating, developing, and implementing new product and recipe development. This role reports to the Chief Strategy & Revenue Officer.
- Oversee and lead the R&D team and establish best practices and standards for following a new product development process, leading projects, meeting cadences, and managing the overall day-to-day workload and priorities for the team
- Develop, plan, and manage the R&D departmental budget taking growth, scaling, and projections into account; collaborate with the Chief Strategy & Revenue Officer and Finance on maintaining budgets and costs in real-time as the organization scales
- Collaborate and partner with cross-functional teams on implementations to effectively bring new products to life, including Product, Marketing, Procurement, Operations, and Food Safety teams
- Develop and maintain R&D SOPs and training programs ensuring that teams adhere to directions and protocols at all times
- Collaborate and partner with the Procurement team to continuously source new ingredients and products, and lead the development of product specifications and evaluations
- Build and maintain a network of external development partners, including, but not limited to ingredient suppliers and vendor chefs to support product development and enhancements
- Develop consistent ingredient database using Excel or other platforms; develop SOPs for ensuring that the system stays up to date at all times
- Oversee test kitchen activities as an effective vehicle for experimenting with new flavors and ideas, the development of new products, and the refinement of existing menu items and products
- Lead consistent weekly R&D meetings keeping operational teams up to date on new developments
- Collaborate with Sales and Customer Service teams to develop systems to obtain customer feedback in real-time on current and new recipes; adjust recipes accordingly in collaboration with the R&D and Operations teams
- Collaborate with HR to recruit, hire, and monitor team performance
- Maintain up-to-date knowledge and understanding of food industry laws, mandates, and R&D trends; ensure compliance with nutritional statements and menu item requirements (e.g. gluten-free, nutrition labeling, sodium reduction, prohibited ingredients, etc.) and implement accordingly
Bachelor’s Degree in food science or equivalent required; Master’s Degree in food science, microbiology or equivalent recommended.
Knowledge, Skills, Experience:
- 10+ years progressive experience as a Culinary R&D leader or equivalent; experience in a high-volume, food manufacturing environment required
- 7 + years as a chef with large scale production experience working with different cuisines with a background in ready-to-eat deli/grocery preferred
- Certified Food Scientist
- Industrialization of Food experience required
- Culinary experience required
- Product Reverse Engineering
- Demonstrated success in culinary creativity (e.g., new products and flavors) and implementing new product development processes
- Experience with ingredient optimization, nutritional analysis, commercialization and scale-up, cross-functional coordination, trend research, sensory paneling and evaluation, product demonstrations
- Experience with project management and stage-gating processes as it relates to new product development and new product launch
- In-depth knowledge of food product and commercialization, including quality assurance, supplier manufacturing, and processes
Physical and Mental Requirements of this job:
The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
Physical Demands: While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently required to stand and walk and talk or hear; and use hands to finger, handle, or operate objects, tools, or controls; and reach with hands and arms. The employee must occasionally climb or balance, stoop, kneel, crouch or crawl. The employee must infrequently lift and/or move up to 25 pounds and occasionally lift and/or move up to 50 pounds. Specific vision abilities required by this position include close vision, distance vision, color vision, peripheral vision, depth perception, and the ability to adjust focus.
Environment: While performing the duties of this job, the employee regularly works in an indoor manufacturing environment. The employee will work in areas exposed to production activities to include but not limited to production machinery, assembly operations, overhead cranes usage, and forklift traffic. The employee will be required to use personal protective equipment to prevent exposure to workplace hazards.
Mental Demands: While performing the duties of this class, the employee is regularly required to use written and oral communication skills; read and interpret data, information and documents; analyze and solve problems; use math and mathematical reasoning; observe and interpret situations; learn and apply new information or skills; and interact with other employees, customers and vendors.