Head of Consumer Sensory Science

Quorn

To apply for this job please visit www.quorn.co.uk.

Quorn Foods, with our entrepreneurial spirit is a great place to work. Our people are passionate, take initiative and accountability and, most of all, work together as one team, focused on one shared goal with common values.

We are an ambitious, growing, independent FMCG company, focused on creating the world’s leading meat-alternative business, through our market leading Quorn and Cauldron brands. We are a global business that designs, manufactures and sells our healthy protein products globally with annual sales turnover in excess of $250 million across 17 territories.

Job Description: Head of Consumer Sensory Science

Reports to: Head of Research and Development

Responsible For: Consumer Sensory Scientists / Technologist, Sensory Research & Panel Manager, Sensory Kitchen & QC Leader

Purpose of role: To support the company growth by providing actionable product-based consumer sensory insights which guide & impact business decisions and influence the business agenda. The job holder will define the consumer sensory vision, provide thought leadership and the technical expertise to develop and maintain robust sensory science capability, standards and methodologies across the business. This role provides leadership, direction, guidance and support to cross-functional insights colleagues and project teams delivering actionable insights and technical recommendations for all product initiatives.

Your Key Contributions and Tasks/Accountabilities:

Lead understanding of the Sensory and Consumer Experience:

  • Define the Consumer Sensory Science vision & strategy and standards in line with strategic priorities of the business.
  • Build sensory science thought leadership, capability and expertise to be the internal voice of authority on consumer product insight.
  • Drive adoption of robust product insight methodologies in order to confidently guide decision making

Deliver actionable insights:

  • Lead understanding of Consumer Sensory experiences within product, pack and process design decisions.
  • Develop and execute compelling sensory learning plans building foundational, exploratory and qualification steps enabling informed business decisions
  • Champion the use of robust, accurate and appropriate sensory design with emphasis on providing actionable, timely data and reports, with clear actionable recommendations for business challenges and growth.

Develop and maintain Product expertise:

  • Understand Quorn and Cauldron product qualities and ranges and the role of microprotein in Quorn products and the sensory qualities it delivers
  • Maintain product knowledge for the business through a category appraisal programme and liaise with the insights team on market knowledge
  • Display a passion for the Company products and Sensory knowledge of the characteristics and expectations

Develop and maintain Sensory/Consumer knowledge:

  • Strong understanding of sensory and technical consumer techniques to utilise to full potential within projects with an ability to link sensory and consumer data statistically to develop the cohesive story
  • Utilise established and new sensory methodologies and statistical analysis to refine and guide product-based decisions across the company.
  • Seek improvements to existing methods in line with good scientific principles

Processes and Procedures Documentation:

  • Ensure an efficient and safe running Sensory facility
  • Develop processes and procedures relevant for sensory testing at Quorn Foods which fit with the stage gate process
  • Document procedures in SOP’s and other documents as mandatory

Internal relationships:

  • Engage pro-actively with project teams to provide robust and rigorous sensory and consumer guidance, thereby guiding the direction of projects
  • Work closely with development, marketing, packaging, quality assurance, management and manufacturing teams scheduling and implementing sensory programmes to ensure the work of the team is strategically aligned
  • Raise awareness of sensory science and good sensory practice to other staff in the business to ensure a sensory and quality improvement culture pervades

External relationships and publications:

  • Understand the business model with external partners (including 3rd party manufacturers, ingredient suppliers and research agencies) and develop appropriate relationships
  • Create a dynamic external visibility of the sensory science expertise at Quorn Foods by actively participating in external sensory meetings and courses
  • Keep up to date with developments and progress within the sensory science and technical consumer community evaluating and implementing methodologies and ways of working that will progress sensory science within the Company

Team management:

  • Maintain awareness and leadership through regular meetings with the team, stakeholders and leaders
  • Coach and develop the team to interpret and report insights from the appropriate sensory and consumer methodologies
  • Ensure projects meet required timescales and deliver to a high quality

Product Quality Guidance:

  • Lead the activities to develop, implement and maintain a Product Quality Maintenance program, through regular quality monitoring sessions, establishing and re-evaluating drivers of preference, acceptability and purchase intent for key Quorn products, including 3rd party made products
  • Continuously identify, validate & communicate sensory benchmark standards by establishing & maintaining a protocol of reference library Gold standard & extreme samples.
  • Determine sensory-driven product shelf life, with auditable evidence of sampling points used.

Budget:

  • Manage budgets for sensory and consumer projects.

Person Specification

Essential:

  • Higher degree/PhD with at least 10 years relevant experience in Sensory Science, Consumer Science or related discipline
  • Proven experience of leading, and managing a sensory science facility within a major FMCG company
  • Fully conversant with qualitative and quantitative techniques, their use through the innovation life cycle and the software / information systems used.
  • Passion for consumer led innovation translating this into insights for business benefit
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills with great influencing skills and an ability to build successful working relationships
  • Ability to lead and manage multiple projects simultaneously
  • Ability to be self-managing, self-starting and strategic. Willing to contribute and have flexibility in terms of approach
  • Passion and enthusiasm to get things done and go that extra mile
  • Excellent communication skills – written and verbal

Desirable:

  • Intellectually curious with a passion for food and the alternative protein space.
  • Ability to work effectively with an external ecosystem including academia and research institutes and agencies.
  • Experience of building teams in a fast-paced growth environment
  • Experienced at creating actionable insights within an international business and ensuring the product design process reflects local consumer preferences and insights.
  • Proven experience of methodology development and their adoption.

We are offering a competitive salary, 25 days annual leave + bank holidays, pension scheme and life insurance options, Employee Assistance Program, and Staff Shop.