Ferrara, a company related to The Ferrero Group, is an emerging powerhouse in the North American confections and sweet snacking categories. A passionate team of more than 6,000 employees works together to share delight in every bite through leading brands that have shaped the industry for more than 100 years.

Principal Scientist

Job Location: ​Bellwood​

Want to make an impact?

Reporting to the Director of Breakthrough Innovation, this individual will lead the research and development of key strategic platform technologies for the Sugar (confections) portfolio. Projects will be related to new technologies for breakthrough innovation. The Principal Scientist will be responsible for technical coaching and mentoring of junior breakthrough innovation developers within the department.

Ways you will make a difference

•    Lead the technical identification and evaluation of ingredient and product technologies to support the creation and execution of the 5-year strategic pipeline. 
•    Lead the creation of inventions, and implementation of innovations by providing technical determination of highly complex technical solutions for breakthrough platform technologies for the 5+ year strategic pipeline.
•    Create new opportunities to increase product formats by leveraging existing capabilities and technologies in novel ways as well as identifying new platform technologies to expand the portfolio. 
•    Develop breakthrough innovation technology pipeline, including inputs to strategic technology focus areas and ways of working/process for technology development for breakthrough innovation at Ferrara
•    Collaborate with R&D Product & Process Development Scientists towards the development of new product initiatives from bench to pilot scale, and into industrial scale-up. Providing technological expertise and commercialization recommendations.
•    Partner and work closely with Marketing, Supply Chain, Operations, Engineering, Packaging functions, etc. toward successful planning, scale up, and execution of all the initiatives.
•    Build technical expertise in the sugar category by networking with subject matter experts within the company and externally.
•    Create and execute against R&D project timelines to ensure on-time deliver of milestones with executional excellence
•    Lead product development for breakthrough R&D initiatives: identifying enabling technologies, collaborating internally and externally to provide proof of principle of new technologies, sound application of scientific research methods to generate process/product specifications, product & process manuals, and recommendations for commercial implementation.
•    Coaches R&D Product Development Scientists in technical areas for the sugar category, product research and development and breakthrough innovation
•    Understands and demonstrates the Company’s core values.
•    Conducts assigned work in a safe manner and adheres to Ferrara safety methods.

Skills that will make you successful

•    Ability to translate multifaceted concepts from the Insights and Marketing team into enabling technologies to be added to the strategic breakthrough technology pipeline
•    Good understanding/appreciation of the broader business environment and application of technical and commercial knowledge during project execution.
•    Very strong interpersonal skills with ability to influence with integrity through persuasive communication to win support at more senior levels within R&D, Operations and Supply Chain, and to build effective relationships with a wide range of stakeholders.
•    Good technical, analytical, and communication skills; ability to interpret data and distil into useful and actionable information.
•    Mastery of certain ingredient/product technologies related to food, confectionary preferred
•    Expertise in breakthrough innovation or technology development preferred
•    Expertise in technology assessment, including scoping work towards proof of principle and proof of concept
•    Self-starter, self-motivating: able to balance competing priorities without losing momentum and manage uncertainty and complexity in fast evolving CPG environments.
•    Quickly analyze complex problems to find actionable pragmatic solutions and constructive action plan.
•    Able to inspire passion and creativity around shared goals with colleagues, and support an environment of achievement, recognition, and celebration.
•    Effectively provide technical coaching and mentoring to junior developers to build overall technical capability of organization
•    Ability to provide technical input into creating enabling technology pipeline, including assessment of technology effectiveness and feasibility
•    Ability to create and use networks, including suppliers, technology experts and academia, to actively seek and take advantage of ideas, best practices, and co-development of new technologies
•    Adopt a positive, inclusive work environment where colleagues feel respected and valued for their contributions.
•    Strive for high standards, seeks innovative solutions, drives continuous improvement of products and processes, and demonstrates a high degree of attention to detail.
•    Highly numerate and computer literate (Microsoft Office), statistical software experience a plus.
•    Demonstrated ability to meet critical deadlines.

Experiences that will support your success

  • B.S. in Food Process Engineering, Agricultural & Biological Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Food Science, or related field. M.S., P.E.  or PhD preferred
  • Minimum of 15 years of experience in a CPG R&D or Manufacturing Role, confectionary experience a plus.
  • This role is based in the Chicagoland area, but the candidate must be willing to work flexible hours on occasion and travel as necessary to internal and external facilities to support manufacturing line trials.
  • Valid driving license is required.
  • Availability to travel up to 40% of time and higher when required.

Our diverse portfolio of nearly 35 brands includes SweeTARTS®, Trolli®, BRACH'S®, Black Forest® and NERDS®, along with iconic favorites like Lemonhead®, Red Hots® and Now and Later®. Ferrara also manages the Keebler® and Famous Amos® businesses for The Ferrero Group.  Headquartered in Chicago, Ferrara has an operational network of 20 locations in North America that includes manufacturing, distribution and R&D facilities. Learn more at www.ferrarausa.com.


We are proud to be an equal opportunity employer. In order to provide equal employment and advancement opportunities to all qualified applicants and employees, employment decisions and opportunities at Ferrara will be based on merit, qualifications, and abilities, without regard to race, color, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, marital or civil union status, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, age, military or veteran status, disability, handicap, genetic information, pregnancy (childbirth or related medical condition), or on any other basis prohibited by law. This policy governs all aspects of employment, including selection, job assignment, compensation, discipline, termination, and access to benefits and training.