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Food Scientist, Design for Food

In a nutshell:

IDEO’s Design for Food Studio is in search of a Food Scientist with an enthusiasm for product innovation and development. This person will have a passion for improving the food system around nutrition and sustainability, with a well-informed appreciation of the challenges of small food scaling big, and big food shifting to better food.

We’re looking for a someone who:

  • Can speak CPG R&D and is able to collaborate with clients’ R&D group as well as know how to create a tight brief to leverage co-packers.  
  • Has a knack for crafting flavor (and/or menu) strategies.
  • Is on top of evolving food trends and shifting consumer behaviors around eating, maybe even spotting them.

Why is this role important for IDEO’s work?

A Food Scientist at IDEO makes the biggest impact by applying deep technical knowledge of food product commercialization to advise and inspire IDEO teams in designing breakthrough products and product platforms for our work across start-ups to large-scale CPG companies.

Once here you will:

Work within project teams to generate exploratory food concepts from early-stage consumer insights, through to refinement and product development. You will bring an understanding of technical considerations to the development of creative solutions within IDEO project teams by liaising with client R&D teams. Your role will include both conveying design intent to clients, as well as understanding and interpreting the technical requirements and constraints to guide IDEO teams, and creatively problem-solving as part of those teams.

Relevant mindset:

  • You are comfortable with the ambiguity of early-stage innovation exploration and agile in your ability to participate and have impact across all phases of a project—in ways that are not traditionally Food Science-related—from consumer research, to design, to synthesis and prototyping.
  • You are a curious, creative problem-solver who is as inspired by analyzing technical capabilities and manufacturing feasibility as you are by prototyping “blue sky” food concepts in the kitchen. You enjoy taking elements of concepts that are desirable but not necessarily feasible, and exploring how to make them possible.
  • You are a great translator—able to frame technical details in understandable ways for the layperson as well as to convey abstract creative ideas to more technically-minded individuals.

Relevant experience:

  • 3-5 years of relevant experience in food product commercialization, having worked across multiple categories within or as a close advisor to CPG R&D teams.
  • Deep technical understanding and experience with formulation, as well as knowledge of manufacturing process.
  • Prototyping food concepts prolifically, from rough early idea exploration to working out the kinks (including “looks like,” “eats like,” “cooks like”), to refining at higher fidelity.
  • Flavor strategy development for new products or product platforms (can also include menu strategy experience).
  • Demonstrated experience in helping big food make positive shifts in scalable ways—maybe you’ve helped a CPG company innovate for the perimeter of the supermarket?
  • Culinary experience and expertise (Culinology degree a bonus).
  • Strong presentation skills–the ability to tell a story about concepts and strategies.

What does IDEO offer you?

IDEO is a place unlike any other. It’s a place where you can solve diverse, complex challenges for our clients or the organization, alongside thoughtful, intelligent individuals who lead with curiosity, empathy, and optimism. Sure we work hard, but we also intentionally craft moments that allow our community to pause, create, and connect. We encourage our community to bring their whole selves to work, respect the need for work-life balance, and allow for autonomy in the design process and your career.

Some previous projects to check out:

Designing a Brand to Scale Big

A Trusted Source of Food in China

Rethinking Baby Food Packaging

Application requirements and instructions:

Along with a resume and cover letter, please include a portfolio or case studies of your work.

Equal Opportunity Employer

IDEO is an equal opportunity employer; applicants are considered for all roles without regard to race, color, religious creed, sex, national origin, citizenship status, age, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, marital, parental, veteran or military status, unfavorable military discharge, or any other status protected by applicable federal, state or local law.