Unilever Material Expert Taste Ingredients in Vlaardingen, Netherlands

Material Expert Taste Ingredients


Material Expert Taste Ingredients

Full-time: 100%

Location: Vlaardingen (mid 2019 the role will move to Wageningen)


Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Food, Home Care, Personal Care and Refreshment products with sales in over 190 countries and reaching 2 billion consumers a day. It has 161,000 employees. Over half (58%) of the company’s footprint is in developing and emerging markets. Unilever has more than 400 brands found in homes around the world, including Persil, Knorr, Dove, Domestos, Hellmann's, Lipton, Wall’s, PG Tips, Ben & Jerry's, Marmite, Magnum, Lynx and Axe.

Unilever R&D will build a new Global Foods Innovation Centre in Wageningen, the Netherlands. The Foods R&D organizations, currently based in Vlaardingen (The Netherlands), Heilbronn (Germany) and Poznan (Poland) will be co-located in the new centre.

In this way Unilever will create critical mass in expertise areas to ensure that the technologies ultimately bring benefit-led, breakthrough innovations to the markets. In addition, we aim to evolve our R&D sites into innovation ecosystems to leverage the knowledge and expertise of external partners.

The new centre is expected to be fully operational by mid 2019.


The Global Design Centre (GDC) leads the Global R&D for Savoury products and has a key role in building capabilities, developing new proprietary technologies and designing science-based solutions and digitally embedded tools to enable Cluster Design teams in the regions to develop and deploy consumer preferred superior products, future proofing the portfolio and deliver business objectives with speed, agility, efficiency and accuracy in the local markets. An integral part of the GDC is also the Material Expert Teams (METs) who lead the capability of managing Global Materials portfolio.

The METs are part of Global cross functional team comprising of R&D, Procurement and QA teams. The METs liaise with Technical Program Leaders (TPrLs) in the GDC and TPLs in the regions to manage all requirements, challenges and / or any crisis related to materials’ quality, supply and specification in the Global Programs / Projects and Regional Projects / ongoing business needs. The METs also collaborate with Suppliers through the Global Partner to Win program on a continuous basis to meet the needs of the business. The METs also liaise with Science and Technology and Open Innovation (OI) teams to identify new technologies or partners that help to support the GDC in building new capabilities, technologies and solutions that require identification of new or modified materials or new suppliers or the support of existing partner suppliers to co-create new materials. The METs also have an important role in driving the Global or Regional Marketing initiatives of Portfolio Transformation, redefined Product Truths and stronger Claims that are driven by evolving consumer insights and culinary trends, which require new ingredients in the portfolio.

The vacancy is based in the Taste & Flavour Material expert team for Savoury and reports to the Taste & Flavour MET leader. The flavour team is responsible for developing new technologies and setting the Material Strategy for Flavour and Taste ingredients.

The successful job holder will - as R&D Technologist/ Material Expert Taste Ingredients - be responsible for the On-Time-In-Full delivery of all relevant projects, adherence to best practice, Functional Excellence in IPM, Unilever policies and Code of Business Principles, whilst building expertise in the relevant Basic Taste core formulation design. (With ingredients like Yeast extract and other fermented materials, HVP, MSG, Nucleotides, Amino Acids).


  • To support the MET Leader in various technical aspects of the MET initiatives with a main objective of ensuring best quality ingredients are sourced from best Global suppliers at best prices to deliver value in Global and Regional business through competitive recipe costs, ensuring business continuity, delivering consistent quality and strong ingredient-based claims

  • To maintain the Positive Material List (PML) for their portfolio and support the creation of high-quality Ingredient specifications (Perfect MET Quality Specs in PLM).

  • To support the METs in the global agenda of material reduction through simplification and harmonization of ingredients in their portfolio which requires them to liaise with cross category Specification, METs, Procurement and QA teams to drive commonalities of similar materials and creation of broad-based specs.

  • To develop new technologies / ingredients focusing on key area of expertise particularly taste enhancers / basic taste functionalities (then possibly also reaction flavour) to support the global innovation program

  • To ensure the On-Time-In-Full (OTIF) delivery of the project(s) within relevant portfolio

  • To deliver new prototype formulations and guidelines through new and differentiated technologies in the group.

  • To support product claims / risk management, and compliance with legal and regulatory.

  • To gather information necessary to safeguard appropriate Intellectual property rights (IPR) for any developed technology / formulations or for IPR agreements with suppliers and other agencies as required.

  • To assess opportunities to use Open Innovation to deliver his/her work and project

  • To keep up-to-date with developments in the relevant area of expertise

  • develop and maintain skills, expertise esp. in the area of taste enhancer /basic taste (and possibly processed flavour)

  • develop and implement Best Practices regarding the application of developed novel Taste Ingredients to ensure the quality in final products.

  • be one of the key technical contacts for the developed materials for specification, regulatory, factories, procurement and supplier, as well as question regarding commercial alternatives

  • share skills and knowledge with other team members. To present work at meetings (internally and externally).

  • ensure the compliance to the Unilever Code of Business Principles and all SHE and QA policies

  • actively support the establishment of the GDC as an inspiring place to work, contributing to site culture and group / team building events.

The Key interfaces will be within GDC and across other GDCs/RDCs, with other functional groups (e.g. procurement) as well as with Research (Discover) and other external partners.


Working together with the MET Leaders, the MET Technologist are expected to:

  • University Degree or equivalent educational background in relevant subject (Food technology, …) – formal flavour training highly desired

  • Preferably professional experience in technical taste ingredients / fermentation area - experience in reaction flavour preferred

  • Sensory evaluation (includes many tasting of savoury / meat products, e.g. beef, chicken…) – Fully Operational

  • Knowledge on Taste ingredients / fermentation, processes and application – Working knowledge/ Fully Operational

  • Reaction Flavour (raw material and process) – Basic Awareness / Working knowledge

  • Project management – Working knowledge

In terms of soft skills we are looking for someone who is:

  • Team committed

  • Goal oriented and committed

  • Adaptive and flexible

  • Proactive

Any other critical personal characteristics

  • Must be passionate about food and ambitious to deliver the best quality + Must show a passion to work in the laboratory during the application work

  • Must show a proven track record of expertise delivery to projects and technical credibility in relevant field

  • Must have scientific approach towards challenges and being solution oriented

  • Must work proactive and independent, coordinating workload efficiently

  • Must show strong evidence of team commitment

  • Must show ability to work in a multi-functional, multi-cultural environment

  • Must have very good communication skills

  • Must be fluent in English


To apply, you must do so online. Please do not forget to upload your CV and a motivation letter. Your application will be reviewed against our requirements and we will be in touch shortly after the closing date to provide you with an update on the status of your application.

Looking forward to meeting you!

Please note this is a Direct Search led by Unilever. Applications from agencies will not be accepted, nor will fees be paid for unsolicited CVs.

Job: Research/Development

Primary Location: Netherlands-Netherlands (Province level)-Vlaardingen-Vlaardingen - R&D

Schedule: Full-time

Shift: Day Job

Unposting Date: Nov-23-2018

Req ID: 18000G9B