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Research & Innovation Manager/Senior Manager, Plant Based Beverages

  • Posted: 11 Sep 2023
  • Research & Innovation
  • United States
  • Hybrid

About the job

Danone North America is looking for Research & Innovation (R&I) Manager/Sr. Manager (based on experience level), Plant-based Beverages located in the Louisville, Colorado office.


The R&I Manager/Sr. Manager, Plant-based Beverages is responsible in leading a team of product developers supporting the Plant-based Food & Beverages Categories team. Our category team is a pioneer and leader in the North American and global plant-based industry across several categories with brands such as Silk, So Delicious Dairy Free, and Follow Your Heart. The R&I Manager/Sr. Manager will be responsible of leading a team of developers and partnering cross-functionally to identify and deliver consumer centric winning product to support the growth agenda. They will lead a team of product developers and scientists within the United States ensuring brand technical innovation is developed and deployed, and new products with points of differentiation are delivered to support the values of unrivaled quality, creativity and innovation across our product portfolio and categories. 


In this role you will:

  • Lead a team of food scientists, engineers, and laboratory technicians to deliver the Plant Based Beverage growth agenda.
  • Drive R&I strategic product initiatives in innovation, renovation, and productivity for the Danone North American Plant-based Beverages business.
  • Create, co-create, and deliver technical project timelines to deliver innovation, renovation, and productivity projects. Work with Project Management partners to drive overall project timelines.
  • Partner with Principal Scientists & Engineers to find synergies between project business needs and the New Technologies team to drive value to the organization.
  • Partner with marketing to deliver Brand Pipelines, Innovation, Renovation & Sustainability according to Business Goals and Strategies.
  • Reporting to the R&I Director Plant Based Beverages & New Technologies, be a valued R&I partner and resource for the Plant-based Business Unit.
  • Collaborate with R&I peers to continue to build capabilities and tools to create new and improve existing products across all businesses. 
  • Responsible for effective ways of working with pilot plant to increase productivity and efficiency to unlock potential for all businesses.
  • Partner with procurement and influence the selection of new vendors and maintain strong relationships with incumbents to continuously identify and deliver on innovative ideas and expanded capabilities.
  • Partner cross-functionally to build project charters and business cases. Lead the R&I functional progression of projects through Stage-Gate processes.
  • Manage and track a diverse portfolio of projects while leading team members through tasks and influencing cross functional team to ensure timely stage gate progression and delivery of new launches and savings.
  • Collaborate closely with all relevant stakeholders to support operational excellence in scaling product launches across both internal and external manufacturing facilities.
  • Collaborate with Engineering, Manufacturing, and other cross functional team members to enable industrialization readiness and to enable successful production start ups
  • Lead, grow and develop a strong team of plant-based beverage product developers, scientists, engineers, and technicians.
  • Own the technical brand management process of the plant-based beverage portfolio. 

The base compensation range for this position is $110,000-165,000 commensurate with experience. Danone North America additionally offers a performance-based bonus and has a strong benefits package including Medical, Dental, Vision, Prescription Drug Coverage, 401k Plan, Wellness Program, Life Insurance, Tuition Reimbursement, Flexible Time Off, and Paid Parental Bonding Leave, among other benefit plan options. To give our employees flexibility, Danone is a hybrid work environment.

About you

The ideal candidate will have:

  • Bachelor’s degree minimum, graduate degree in Food Science or Engineering preferred.
  • 8+ years of experience in product design/development (preferably in the food or beverage industry).  The ideal candidate will have progressive and increasing levels of responsibility and leadership accountability with experience in managing product projects, programs and/or people.
  • Demonstrated Leadership in cross functional teams involving marketing, sales, purchasing and manufacturing in the development of new products.
  • Technical depth and relevant experience in food science and processing. Most preferably, the candidate has experience in successfully designing and launching products in plant-based or animal free categories, especially in dairy or meat analogues.
  • General knowledge of the processes within marketing, industrial design, production, supply chain and global sales channels.
  • Strong commercial acumen, technical development skills, judgment and understanding of the business and industry.   Experience leading a product development function across multiple markets or countries preferred.
  • Ability to create a roadmap for short term and medium-term technical deliverables and skills to influence relevant cross functional business partners for implementation.
  • Solid project management skills and ability to drive complex project tasks at all phases of the commercialization cycle. Project management experience with tool such as MS Project, Smartsheets, or similar.
  • Comfortable and passionate in delivering projects on rapid timelines in a fast-paced, team environment.
  • Proficient in the use of sensory and consumer testing for qualification of new raw materials and formulations while delivering product superiority.
  • Experience with Lean 6 Sigma methodologies is a plus.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Excellent business skills and understand the levers of R&D.
  • Self-starter, autonomous and demonstrated ability to bring disruptive and innovative ideas.
  • Ability to travel up to approximately 30%.


About us

At Danone North America, you’ll work with some of the best-known food and beverage brands in the world like Activia, Silk, Horizon Organic, Two Good, Oikos, evian, and Happy Family. You’ll be part of one of the largest Certified B Corps™ in the world, working together to make sure our brands create real benefits for people, communities, and the planet. We have 6,000+ employees across the U.S. and Canada. Come join our movement for a healthier world: One Planet. One Health BY YOU.


Danone North America doesn’t just welcome what makes you unique, we value it. We’re proud to be an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. All hires to our team are based on qualifications, merit and business needs. We recruit, employ, train and promote regardless of race, color, religion, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, veteran status, genetic characteristic or any other protected status. Faithful to our values of openness and humanism, all of our employees share in the commitment to engage one another with dignity and respect. http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/regs/compliance/posters/pdf/eeopost.pdf