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Innovation and Development Manager


WayFare Health Foods is an innovative plant-based food company dedicated to inspiring plant-based living. We actively improve people’s lives and well-being by providing foods that replace dairy without requiring a compromise on taste or function. Our current line of products includes plant-based, ready-to-eat cream cheeses, dips, sour cream, butters, cheddar sauces, and puddings that are sold in retail locations in many parts of the U.S. and used by bakeries and restaurants in the U.S. and Canada.

Position Summary:

The Innovation and Development Manager delivers innovative consumer winning plant-based product propositions by utilizing technical expertise in raw material, product, process, and packaging development, nutrition, and regulatory compliance.

Essential Functions:

  • Focus on delivering innovation projects addressing consumer and customer needs consistently, by working closely with the Sales and Marketing Operations, Quality and
  • Ensure the market competitiveness of the existing product portfolio by addressing changing consumer needs in terms of product performance, packaging, quality, nutrition, and cost.
  • Lead the optimization of products and processes to deliver a reduction in cost of goods.
  • Maintain efficient and effective systems and processes, including Stage Gate, Project Management, Recipe Management, Raw Material, and Finished Product Specifications.
  • Open liaison with all internal and external parties that will deliver growth for the organization.
  • Deliver a competitive advantage by utilizing technical expertise in raw material, product, process and packaging development, nutrition, and regulatory compliance.
  • Collaborate with Sales & Marketing and Supply Chain ensuring the right products are delivered.
  • Build collaborative relationship with Sales & Marketing team, identifying opportunities, gain customer feedback, scale, and commercialize innovation to launch, for retail, food service, and industrial customers.
  • Ensure all products comply with regulatory requirements.
  • Maintain an efficient and effective Stage Gate process that supports and prioritizes the 3-year innovation pipeline and maintains a balance between incremental and breakthrough innovation.

Education, Training, and Experience Required:

  • Innovation – Knows how to commercialize opportunities and capitalize on them, systematically using the appropriate technology to deliver a competitive advantage.
  • Leadership – Knows how to lead and manage the R&D projects, and to inspire and motivate project teams to deliver agreed outcomes.
  • Technical – Knows manufacturing processes and principles for plant-based food dairy and/or fats and oils.
  • Food Safety and Quality – Knows and understands the obligations as required under the certifications and legislation.
  • Bachelor’s degree in food science or related field.

Preferred Experience:

  • Food Industry – Five (5) to ten (10) years working in senior technical and NPD roles within FMCG food industry, preferably perishable foods, fats and oils, plant-based foods and/or dairy.
  • Continuous Improvement – Demonstrate examples of implementing a continuous improvement culture and systems.
  • Ingredient Functionality and Interactions – Demonstrate a good understanding, have preferably worked on plant-based foods before.
  • Hands-on understanding of food production unit operations on a pilot and scaled up commercial scale.

General Competencies Expected:

Role Model – Demonstrate the behaviors of a leader, including collaborating and influencing, decision making, change leadership, developing self and others, consumer, and customer focus, commercial and results orientation.

Influencing Skills – Have strong written and verbal communication skills to influence the organization.

Stakeholder Management – Effectively manage customers within and outside the organization.

Systems – Understands and utilizes relevant IT software to support the Stage Gate and Recipe Management and Specification Systems.

Analytical Skills – Use advanced analytical skills to identify areas for improvement and to drive change.

Job Type: Full-time


  • 401(k)
  • Dental insurance
  • Flexible schedule
  • Health insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Paid time off
  • Vision insurance


  • Monday to Friday

Ability to Relocate:

  • Nebraska City, NE 68410: Relocate before starting work (Required)

Work Location: In person

To apply, please send your cover letter and resume to