Innovation Manager, Leeds

14 Feb 2017
14 Mar 2017
Arla Foods Limited
Business Sector
Food & Drink
Full Time
Contract Type

At Arla, we do so much more than make some of the world's favourite dairy products. We make healthy taste delicious, mornings worth getting up for and family dinners unforgettable. Cravendale®, Anchor®, Lurpak® and Tickler® - names like these make us a vital, natural part of modern life in over 100 countries around the world. We are 4,000 UK and 19,000 global employees at the heart of it. Every single one of us plays an important role and together we build on our 10bn Euros turnover and establish our position as one of the largest dairy companies in the world.

We are currently looking for a cheese Innovation Manager to join our marketing team at our head office in Leeds. This role will report to our Marketing Director for cheese, Katie Reed. As the largest cheese manufacturer in the UK it is our role to continue diving more newness in the industry expanding the category and delighting consumers.

Role Objective

  • Lead the delivery of an ongoing category specific Brand and Own Label innovation pipeline delivering against net rev targets and supporting category and brand growth.

Key Measurable Outputs




  • 0-3 year rolling commercially viable innovation pipeline delivering against Net Rev Building Blocks
  • Delivery of a clear innovation strategy built into 3 year growth plans with building blocks defined, supporting the delivery of the overall category and brand strategy
  • Cross functional Innovation Process management to ensure high levels of stakeholder engagement and influence ensuring projects progress to gate 3 within projected timescales.

Key Responsibilities



  • Feed into the creation and deliver the +3 year innovation strategy aligned with the category and relevant brand strategy that supports the ambitions of the overall category.
  • Create, lead and drive commercially viable innovation concepts from ideation through to launch for locally developed innovations - Branded and OL
  • Present and prioritise on going commercially viable share and steal opportunities for the pipeline.
  • Within Champion models, influence Global (alongside the category teams) to develop and accelerate relevant innovations for CUK ensuring full visibility in CUK of what will be delivered and when.
  • Leads, drives and delivers selected commercially viable lead market innovation projects to launch.
  • Develop and maintain a clear understanding of retailer priorities and strategies to help fuel the OL pipeline in line with the internal OL Category strategy
  • Understanding and awareness of Site capabilities, capacities and developments (locally and globally) to help accelerate the pipeline.
  • Develop and utilise ongoing consumer, market, competitor and macro understanding to be applied to help fuel the innovation pipeline ensuring that external macros knowledge is shared internally.
  • Work alongside agencies and the insight team to ensure the right, innovative approach is adopted for each project.
  • Effective Stakeholder management within CUK and Global ensuring that the right stakeholders are informed and influenced to ensure successful project delivery. (Cross Functional Project groups to be set up per project where appropriate)
  • Consistency in innovation project delivery by creating and following clear critical paths per project ensuring cross functional collaboration with all internal stakeholders at every stage of the process.
  • Influence global in developing the right product and packaging solutions for CUK aligned to the CUK category and innovation strategy.
  • Supporting the management of the CUK Spring process:
  • Attendance at monthly Category & CAT meetings to provide innovation updates and ensure buy-in for innovation concepts
  • For OL NPD present Innovations into customers

The closing date for this role is 28th Feb.

Katie Reed's recent thoughts shared on innovation:

Innovation is vital to ensure we continue transforming cheese. Responding to diversifying meals, snacking as well as special occasions gives huge expandability opportunities to get consumers add one more cheese type to their shopping repertoire. A great example of this in 2016 was our launch of Arla Quark which tapped into trends around healthy eating and cooking with cheese, while adding a better product quality for cooking and flavours to compliment this usage. In only a few weeks we double the rate of sale of the nearest competitor product and added 80% of its volume incrementally to the category.

In addition, providing innovative solutions or propositions in areas such as packaging, provenance, ethics & story telling can truly unlock more category value as consumers are willing to pay more for things which enhance their lives, make them feel good or simply make life more simple. Snacking portions are a great example of adding value and making life simple for consumers. Our launch in 2016 with Sainsbury's has hailed as their most successful innovation launch in 2016 from all categories they operate in. This performance has led to a step change in distribution for 2017.