Senior Protein Scientist

Cargill, Inc. Wichita , KS 67251

Posted 5 months ago

The Senior Protein Scientist will join the Global Nutrition and Health Center of Expertise R&D Team, which sits within the Starches, Sweeteners and Texture (SST) business. The primary responsibility of this position will be to lead R&D activities critical to the successful development and launch of novel plant and alternative proteins, next generation plant proteins and protein solutions that address new product categories, enabling the growth of Cargill's plant and alternative protein ingredient portfolio. The person in this position will work closely with the product and process development as well as the food applications teams throughout the development process to ensure the solutions deliver on the key Jobs to Be Done (JTBD). In addition, this position will partner with the customer-facing technical service and sales organizations to identify and develop customer interest, from introductory conversations up to and through ingredient launch and subsequent launch in the customer product(s). The incumbent will cultivate a close working relationship with the commercial and market & business intelligence team throughout the cycles of development and launch.

The successful candidate will draw upon their experience with both protein ingredients and finished foods to drive iterations of progress from ingredient development to incorporation into finished food. Outstanding oral & written communication skills are expected. S/he must be experienced in relationship cultivation and in leading effective and productive discussions across a range of audiences (technical, commercial, procurement, supply chain, marketing and sales) in both internal and external settings. S/he must be organized, attentive to detail and have the ability to seamlessly execute across multiple projects and workstreams. The candidate should be curious, creative, adept at working collaboratively and have excellent problem-solving skills. Challenging the status quo is expected. S/he will always work safely and champion a safety-focused culture.

Principal Accountabilities
40% Customer-focused engagement

  • Voice of the customer: Lead/co-lead protein-focused customer engagements to identify customer needs, bring visibility to our portfolio and product pipeline, translate feedback into insight to influence both tactical and strategic activities within the product pipeline. Own R&D follow-ups.

  • Jobs to Be done: Proficient in and able to facilitate JTBD exercises; translate feedback to appropriate teams.

  • Prototypes & Sampling: For ingredients in the development pipeline, own and update prototype portfolio and coordinate protein ingredient sampling; capture and communicate feedback to the technical, commercial and other key stakeholder teams.

  • Piloting: Participate in customer and third party trials, adding value by applying ingredient know-how to improve outcomes and identify areas of opportunity for additional development.

  • Legal agreements: Lead the execution of legal documents such as CDA/NDAs, MTAs, and joint development agreements (with support of the Law Department).
    40% Product- focused development

  • Ingredient Development: Translate customer and other key stakeholder feedback to ingredient R&D team to improve product performance.

  • Applications development: Responsible for engaging and working with the food applications team and the animal-based protein R&D team for planning, executing applications testing and product evaluations .

  • Piloting: Organize and execute lab and pilot scale trials and subsequent product evaluations; design next round experiments based on outcomes.

  • Product Narrative: Contribute to the development and maintenance of cohesive product narratives.

  • Food Safety, Quality & Regulatory: Work closely with regulatory team to navigate relevant global requirements (such as FDA, FSIS/USDA, and EFSA) and FSQR team to ensure proper food safety and quality standards are maintained throughout the ingredient development and customer engagement process.

  • Knowledge & IP: Own proper documentation and communication of experimental results and conclusions (including tools such as electronic laboratory notebook, Sales Force and Cargill's innovation system) for knowledge building and intellectual property activities.
    20% Innovation

  • Engage in and champion innovation-driven activities such as idea creation and development, technology scouting and in-lab exploration.

  • Lead small to medium early phase, exploratory projects relevant to plant and alternative proteins.

  • Support the breadth of R&D activities in the Nutrition & Health CoE.

Required Qualifications

  • BS in food science, chemistry, biochemistry or closely related field

  • At least 5 years of experience in the food industry

  • At least 3 years hands-on experience with one or more protein ingredients

  • Strong working knowledge of applications development in at least one category (such as meat alternatives, beverages, snacks, bakery)

  • Strong working knowledge of protein structure, chemistry and functionality

  • Working understanding of the current markets, trends, key players, and innovation activities in the plant protein space

  • Basic understanding of protein processing

  • Demonstrated communication skills across a variety of audiences

  • Able to travel up to 30%

Preferred Qualifications

  • MS or PhD in food science, chemistry, biochemistry or closely related field

  • 6-10 years of experience in the food industry

  • Extensive hands-on experience with multiple plant-based proteins

  • Experience with animal-based proteins

  • Extensive experience with one or more categories (such as meat alternatives, beverage, snacks, bakery)

  • Working knowledge of food engineering/manufacturing processes such as extrusion, UHT processing, aseptic packaging or breadings and coatings

  • Working knowledge of CPG companies and stage gate product development of consumer goods

  • Familiarly with project management concepts and tools

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Senior Protein Scientist

Cargill, Inc.