MAIN PURPOSE OF JOB:
- To oversee projects from concept to launch in line with an agreed brief and critical path utilising cross-functional expertise.
- Develop products & processes which enable the business to maintain category leadership and customer ‘supplier of choice’.
- Build and maintain customer relationships acting as the dedicated contact to provide accurate and consistent communication internally and externally whilst identifying and resolving issues promptly. To display a confident and knowledgeable manner to engage with customers. To research and understand their market/customer base/strategy and their processes.
- To proactively drive and deliver Innovation within agreed medium/long-term Business Strategies.
- Working closely with Category Management/Marketing, understand current/future trends, consumer & customer insights and market gaps/opportunities to ensure Innovation Programme is relevant and has high level of confidence for success.
- Develop detailed briefs with clear ‘reasons to believe’, rationale, feasibility and potential margin to present to Senior Business Managers for approval ahead of project commitment, including highlighting any potential Capex requirements.
- Along with Category Management/Marketing/Commercial, engage with customers to ascertain potential/appetite for innovation opportunities being developed.
- Brief Development and Project management teams with new Briefs from concept to launch with a right first-time approach (including sample submissions and sample amendments, customer presentations, critical path, launch matrix, trials, artwork and packaging development process, manufacturing and palletisation guidelines, post implementation reviews).
- Lead taste panels either internally or externally to the standard required whilst being the authority on the products being presented. Ensure all tasting notes, actions and next stages are recorded and issued accordingly.
- Continuously develops their knowledge of fruit, nut and seed markets including product knowledge on eating quality, specifications, price, countries of origin, varieties and sustainability.
- Lead factory product/process trials for new innovations to ensure that products are only progressed when truly feasible without risk to product integrity, technical standards and commercial viability. Builds a strong relationship with the factory and technical teams.
- Understand the factory kit, process and limitations to ensure that they are considered within all new products and packaging. Highlighting any risks to ensure that they are managed or mitigated.
- Source and verify the feasibility of new raw materials within RM Curtis specifications and approved suppliers clearly understanding allergen and MOQ considerations.
- Brief suppliers and closely work with them to meet briefs in the best possible way.
- Keep assigned market benchmarking documents up to date and accurate, highlight any new launches, products or re-designs to the business in a timely manner. Be the expert and go to for your areas.
- To be aware of and continuously develop understanding of trends, consumer behaviours, insight and new opportunities which may present business opportunities for RM Curtis brands or customers. On a need by need basis, keep up to date with new launches through regular competitor shopping or directional shopping either on line or in person.
- Understand and recognise who key centres of excellence are for the manufacturing customers to ensure we stay ahead of the trends and can inspire them where possible.
- Develop basic understanding of packaging to include cutters, printing processes, substrates and design files.
- Support or lead specific business innovation projects when requested for either customer specific or branded products.
- To maintain the standards for product safety, legality, traceability, quality, hygiene and housekeeping requirements.
- Role involves liaising with all departments including Marketing, Accounts, Technical, Quality, Sales, Engineering, Procurement, Transport and Distribution, Planning and Warehousing.
- Liaise with Marketing to publish Product info bulletins.
- Assisting other members of the NPD team with NPD or EPD projects when required.
- Assisting the Marketing team during brand development.
- Any other duties requested by a Manager or Director.
- Ability to work autonomously and with a team.
- Ability to deal with a complexity of products, projects and customers.
- Computer literate across Excel, Word and Powerpoint.
- Excellent oral and written communication skills.
- Customer facing - to display a confident and knowledgeable manner to engage with customers.
- Basic culinary knowledge of flavours, flavour pairings and how to make delicious products.
- Background in technical/quality/NPD with key Innovation experience.
- Understanding health/nutritional/dietary benefits of products to be suggested or presented to the customer.
- Project management skills; flexible to travel and attend launches outside normal office hours.
- Experience in a similar role within a food/ beverages manufacture environment
- Preferably a Food science/technology/nutrition, Product design Graduate or a foodie / passionate cook with Chef background or experience.