Sr. Manager, Innovation

Hostess Brands

About Us:

Hostess Brands is a leading sweet snacks company that makes, markets, and distributes our delicious treats throughout North America.

Our approximately 2,600 employees put their hearts in everything they do, inspiring moments of joy by baking new and classic snacks including Hostess® Donettes®, Twinkies®, CupCakes, Ding Dongs® and Zingers®, as well as a variety of Voortman® cookies and wafers.

Position Details

Sr. Manager, Innovation
Chicago Illinois
Chicago, IL

Job Summary:

The Innovation Senior Manager plays a critical role in the execution of long- and short-term innovation strategies, new product and package ideas, and new product pipeline development to drive Sweet Baked Snack business unit growth through innovation and deliver on profit, volume, and share objectives.

This role is a great opportunity to:

  • Lead and manage platform innovation to help deliver the company growth goals 
  • Expand Sweet Baked Snack Hostess brand and sub-brands into new territories, including new consumers, new usage occasions and new channels 
  • Build strong collaborative partnerships with cross-functional team members including Brand Marketing, Sales, R&D, Insights, Supply Chain/Operations and Finance to successfully develop and launch new products

This individual must be a self-starter, problem solver and proven collaborator with strong team leadership skills and experience with the principles of innovation, marketing, consumer insights, business/brand strategy, and P&L management through work experience in prior innovation-focused roles.

Responsibilities & Duties:

  • Lead development and execution of product and packaging innovation projects including concept development, feasibility validation, product and packaging R&D, business proposal and approval, project execution, customer sell-in and tracking of in-market performance 
  • Develop deep understanding of Hostess/JM Smucker innovation project management, packaging and specification systems to advance projects with the cross functional team 
  • Leverage well-developed analytical skills to recommend fact-based decisions via multiple data sources 
  • Build solid, compelling business cases that demonstrate a deep understanding of trends, competitive data, market research and consumer insights 
  • Synthesize business cases, research findings and creative design (i.e. naming, packaging) into simple and compelling presentations and effectively deliver to executive-level audience 
  • Develop meaningful consumer positioning for new products that creates added value versus competition and effectively communicates product advantages to consumers 
  • Manage new product P&L and adjust as necessary to ensure P&L targets are achieved 
  • Ensure executional excellence around the commercialization of new products with launches completed on strategy, on time and on budget 
  • Collaborate closely with Marketing and Sales Teams to ensure go-to-market plans are developed and transitions are executed seamlessly 
  • Work closely with key members of the Sales Team to understand and address retailer priorities and to ensure innovation forecast accuracy, maximization of opportunities and development of plans to deliver against objectives 
  • Support development of innovation pipeline and innovation strategies feeding the long range and annual plans, reflecting overall corporate and sub-brand goals 
  • Work closely with internal and external resources to creatively develop a pipeline of new product ideas using syndicated research and trend data, primary market research and competitive intelligence


  • MBA or Bachelor’s Degree in related field required; if no MBA, then BBA strongly preferred 
  • 7+ years’ experience in marketing, brand management and/or new product development at a consumer products company 
  • 3+ years’ experience in consumer products innovation and new product design/development 
  • Experience in the food CPG industry is a plus 
  • Experience in marketing strategy, strategic business analysis, financial planning and market/consumer research 
  • Self-starter with willingness to roll up your sleeves to make it happen; demonstrated consistent initiative and ability to work independently 
  • Excellent planning and project management skills 
  • Comfort with ambiguity 
  • Proven ability to effectively manage multiple priorities in a dynamic environment is required 
  • Strong analytical skills, comfort with triangulating and interpreting data, as well as the ability to make succinct and actionable recommendations 
  • Strong verbal and written communication and presentation skills 
  • Skilled in building/delivering presentations for a range of audiences 
  • Strong collaborator and experienced leader with a demonstrated ability to provide clear direction to cross-functional teams 
  • Proven ability to influence without authority 
  • Positive, team-oriented attitude

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