What’s it all about then?
You’ll be involved in all aspects of bringing a new product to market - from the initial concept right through to product launch.
You’ll be the key customer contact for all issues concerning the products you’re working on, keeping them informed of any outcomes and making sure that all their needs are met.
As well as new products, you’ll also have responsibility for improving existing ones and will lead a team of technologists and chefs who will help you get the job done.
What might I be doing?
The work is varied and will likely include the following:
- Leading the company New Product Development Department and making sure they are recognised as an important part of the company’s success
- Making sure that all new products are correctly costed
- Drafting and updating company New Product Development procedures and ensuring that all staff are fully compliant
- Keeping up to date with changes to legislation and new research
- Sourcing new materials and ingredients
- Interpreting new legislation and ensuring that all relevant staff are up to speed with any amendments to make sure all products are fully compliant and legal
- Managing multiple projects and staff
- Ensuring all new products meet technical, price and production parameters
- Conducting nutritional research as required
- Drafting and signing off on product specifications and documentation
- Liaising with colleagues in different departments
- Taking responsibility for successful handover of product to process development staff
- Presenting new products to potential customers
What will be expected of me?
You’ll be someone who is absolutely passionate about food and your role in helping to develop new products.
You’ll need to have some people management experience so that you can get the best out of your team of technologists. This and your excellent communications skills will also help when you’re dealing with other departments and also suppliers and clients.
By nature, you will be a methodical sort of person. You’ll enjoys working your way through processes without taking short cuts making sure everything is recorded accurately at all times.
At the same time you’ll be spending time researching the market, watching what the competition is up to and seeking out new ideas to keep your company ahead of the game.
What can I expect?
Don’t expect a standard 40-hour week but do expect a lot of variety and responsibility - a lot of the work will be spent working in test kitchens or factory floor areas so protective clothing will be as familiar as a business suit.
As manager of the department, a lot of responsibility is on your shoulders. You’ll be comfortable with deadlines and pressure and organised at all times so that issues are resolved before they cause problems.
You can also expect a fair bit of travel in this job as you travel around meeting with suppliers of ingredients and also the clients for whom you’re developing the new products.
What about the pay?
You’ll have to have a lot of experience to get the manager’s job and this will likely have been gained as a graduate trainee and later, development technologist.
As the manager you’ll typically be earning at least £30,000 to £40,000 a year. This could rise dramatically as you get more experience and have greater areas of responsibility.
What qualifications do I need to get in?
You will often require a food related degree as the preferred entry qualification for the job of New Product Development Manager.
Of course other relevant science subjects such as chemistry and microbiology might also help.
You could have come up through the ranks having possibly started as a development assistant - meaning you started after completing A-levels or Further Education studies – see separate Development Assistant page for details.
What about further training?
Postgraduate degrees are available in lots of different areas that will complement your role and enhance your career development..
You might also consider membership of a professional organisation such as the Institute of Food Science and Technology and this will be useful in a number of ways including networking opportunities, news of new developments, and demonstration of your commitment to your career through continuing professional development.
Anything else I might need to know?
Yes, this is a demanding but very rewarding job – after all who doesn’t want to see a product they invented and developed being produced in large quantities and sitting on supermarket shelves all over the country?
Chances are that success in NPD will lead to internal promotions to a broader technical role - but that’s entirely up to you and your effort in pursuit of your career goals.