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Staff Scientist Sensory Innovation

Posted Date:  Feb 12, 2024
Requisition Number:  121262

Location: Hershey, PA / Technology Center

Up to 10% travel required, primarily within the US.



Reporting to the Senior Manager, Sensory Innovation and working at the Technical Center in Hershey, PA, the Sensory Innovation Staff Scientist will have leadership of at least one high complexity initiative or multiple medium complexity initiatives. Complexity of a workstream can be increased through technical complexity, manufacturing complexity, speed to market, quantity of projects, and cross-functional support.  This position would be driving the strategy of initiatives while also executing on all workstreams.  High autonomy of leadership across all workstreams is required.  This candidate is capable of benchmarking initiatives across Hershey facilities and leads initiatives based upon findings.  This candidate proactively identifies cross-functional opportunities and leads teams that diagnose root cause issues and is accountable for resolution. This candidate leverages personal networks to maximize efficiency and quality and is recognized as a subject matter expert in key areas by internal customers (breadth of Sensory and consumer methods, statistics, designed studies, etc.) This candidate effectively contributes to critical meetings with Senior Management and/or large groups and influences teams to achieve critical initiatives. This candidate communicates abstract concepts clearly and effectively.


This candidate proactively shares cross-functional knowledge, skills, and experience through teaching and mentoring SPI and cross-functional peers on Sensory and Consumer methods. The successful candidate teaches and mentors peers on food industry and trends, Hershey manufacturing processes, fundamentals of food science, application of technology.


Specific Role Focus Area:

  • Serve as the sensory liaison in support of assigned businesses and brands.

  • Leverage knowledge of consumer and analytical sensory methods to lead research primarily for new product innovation but will also lead projects on product improvements and margin enhancements to existing products.

  • Work independently and as a part of a team to design, collect, analyze, interpret, and report sensory and consumer data to provide valid actionable guidance and business recommendations to cross-functional teams and key stakeholders.

  • Apply analytical sensory methods as needed to complement testing required to meet project objectives.

  • Contribute to the development and implementation of new/improved sensory and consumer research capabilities to further expand the department toolbox of methods.

  • Mentor junior Sensory personnel and peers on sensory and consumer research best practices.


This role will interact and partner with:

  • Product Development

  • Commercial and Innovation Marketing

  • Consumer Insights

  • Supply chain peers (Quality and Regulatory Compliance, Engineering, Manufacturing, etc.)

  • External Research Suppliers



Major Duties/Responsibilities:

  • Business Support - The role entails participating in recurring project meetings and working with cross-functional team members to define project objectives, identify appropriate type of sensory and/or consumer research needed, and designing test protocols (includes consumer, discrimination, and descriptive testing). 

  • Capability Building (methods & talent)-Assessment and implementation of new sensory and consumer research methods to drive capabilities, efficiencies, and performance. 



Minimum knowledge, skills and abilities required to successfully perform major duties/responsibilities: 

  • Proven track record of applying sensory and consumer testing methods to support the successful launch of new products to the market and/or product improvements on existing products.

  • Demonstrated expertise and ability to lead projects.  Includes research design, advanced statistical analysis, and reporting of complex studies to generate insights and business direction.  Statistical modelling of sensory and consumer data, Design of Experiments (DOE), product/process optimizations, category assessments, Drivers of Liking (DOL).

  • Experience with statistical analysis and programming software (i.e. SAS, JMP, R, SPSS, StatsGraphics, Minitab, etc.) and advanced statistical techniques (conjoint, regression, correlation, factor and cluster analysis, principal component analysis, etc.).

  • Proficient in the use of sensory data collection systems (i.e. EyeQuestion preferred, Compusense, SIMS).

  • Demonstrated knowledge and application of quantitative and qualitative consumer test methods to drive new product development and continuous improvement efforts (CLTs, HUTs, focus groups, ethnography, online surveys, etc.).

  • Demonstrated knowledge and application of sensory analytical methods (descriptive, discrimination).

  • Demonstrated ability to effectively collaborate across and within functions that represent diverse viewpoints.

  • Leadership skills/behaviors: business acumen, conflict management, and excellent organizational, communication and interpersonal skills.

  • Advanced Microsoft Office skills (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook).

  • Ability to multi-task and prioritize with very limited supervision.

  • Preferred: Previous people management experience and desire for future management opportunities.    

  • Preferred: Strong knowledge of statistics and data visualization, and advanced analytics. Prior experience and successful project work utilizing hands-on modelling of sensory and consumer data and designed (DOE) studies.

  • BS, MS, or PhD in Food Science, Psychology, Statistics with emphasis in Sensory & Consumer Research, with 10+ years related experience. 






Nearest Major Market: Harrisburg

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