Job Title: Product Development Specialist

Reporting to: Director, Product Development

Location: Salinas, Santa Maria or Arroyo Grande Areas, CA


About Pairwise:

Pairwise is a mission-driven, food+tech company dedicated to building a healthier world through better fruits and vegetables. Pairwise was founded in 2017 by scientists at Harvard University, MIT, and Broad Institute who are eminent in the field of gene editing, as well as biotechnology industry pioneers. Our team is tuned in to consumer food trends, and we believe that consumers deserve more variety and innovation in their fresh food choices. We are primed to deliver that innovation through one of the best gene-editing platforms in food and agriculture. Pairwise has an exclusive 5-year research collaboration with Bayer to develop products in corn, soybean, wheat, canola, and cotton. Plus, Pairwise is developing new types of leafy greens, berries, and stone fruit, with the first product expected in late 2023. Pairwise is based in the start-up friendly Research Triangle Park area of North Carolina, with a growing presence in Arroyo Grande, California.


About This Role:

At Pairwise, our growing Product Development Team is looking for a motivated, collaborative, engaging individual to round out our Product Development team.  The Product Development Specialist will help execute all aspects of product development for leafy greens and berries under the direction of the Director of Product Development by helping evaluate and advance edited and unedited plant material through the product development stage gate. This role will participate in product formulation and packaging development, and will actively contribute to the identification, study, evaluation, testing, and implementation of new and improved ingredients, processes, finished goods and technologies that enables Pairwise to develop, launch and optimize our product portfolio for improved functionality, product quality, and cost performance.  The ideal candidate will be a skilled communicator and innovative collaborator that thrives in a high-paced environment, continually improves, and understand how product development’s day-to-day work ladders up to Pairwise’s strategic goals.


Essential Functions:

·       Assist Product Development Director to develop new and renovate existing products in Pairwise’s fresh produce portfolio (leafy greens, berries, and other crops).

·       Lead factory trials to validate and qualify leafy greens blends, salad kids, berry products and any subsequent ingredients, processes, and packaging.

·       Participate in new innovation brainstorming and creative sessions to help build the innovation pipeline.

·       Identifies proprietary and innovative technology for adaptation to products and processes.  

·       Organize and maintain the Product Development lab and work area, including control of current ingredient inventories, identification and control of new product development ingredients and responsibility for any outgoing and incoming samples.

·       Support development, testing, implementation and shelf-life validation of new and improved salad products to improve product quality and sensory characteristics of products sold in USA.

·       Plans, coordinates, and leads technical projects involving complex physical and chemical interactions of food ingredients and phase change.

·       Applies knowledge of ingredients functionality, interactions and other fundamental food science principles for optimum product design in fresh produce.

·       Utilizes structured analysis, design, contingency planning and resources of complex product and process development options in recommending technical solutions to business issues.

·       Helps develop finished goods and raw product specifications for co-manufacturers to execute new products in their fields and processing lines.

·       Travel is possible up to 30%, sometimes independently.

Principal Contacts Internally/Externally:
Internal: R&D, Marketing, Sales, Purchasing/Procurement, QA, Regional Sales Managers, Operations, Production and Supply Chain Staff, Pairwise product team 
External: Ingredient, packaging vendors/suppliers.

Knowledge and Skill Requirements:

·       Has demonstrated credibility launching new products with significant business results, ideally with that experience being in fresh produce

·       Ability to work independently, handle a fast-paced work environment

·       Advanced knowledge of food science, chemistry, plant biology, food processing, packaging materials, packaging equipment, and/or agriculture

·       Ability to write trial protocols at supplier and co manufacture locations

·       Ability to problem-solve and deal with a variety of variables in situations where only limited standardization exists

·       Proficient with all applications of Microsoft Office

·       Strong verbal and written communication skills

·       Strong presentation skills and a team player with a “problem solving” attitude

·       Ability to prioritize and meet deadlines within specified time constraints

·       Self-motivated with passion for food science, product development and innovation

Required Education & Experience:

·       BS in Food Science / Agricultural Sciences / Plant Biology / Post Harvest Technology or equivalent experience.

·       1-3 years’ experience in product development and/or related R&D teams (will accept less experience if the experience has been in the leafy greens or berry industries).

·       Strong track record of delivering research outcomes supporting business objectives and product launch.

·       Demonstrated ability to influence others and build effective relationships both internally and externally.

·       Experience with fresh produce, leafy greens or berries is a plus.

·       Proficient written and oral communicator in English; Spanish: not necessary but beneficial.


·       Comprehensive Benefits Plan, including Medical, Dental, Vision, HSA/FSA, 401k, Life Insurance, Short-Term & Long-Term Disability, and more!

·       Flexible PTO (use what you need, when you need it), in addition to company holidays.

·       Casual work environment.

·       Mission-driven organization focused on creating healthier fruits and veggies.

·       A cutting-edge, driven community looking to lead the industry in innovation and nutrition.


Physical Demands

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. 


While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently required to sit and use hands to finger, handle or feel, and techniques that require fine motor skills and repetitive motions.  The employee is occasionally required to stand and walk.   The employee must frequently lift and/or move up to 10 pounds. The employee is regularly required to talk or hear.  Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, distance vision, color vision, peripheral vision, depth perception and ability to adjust focus.


EEO Statement:

We're an equal opportunity employer. All applicants will be considered for employment without attention to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, veteran or disability status.

Don’t meet every single requirement? Studies have shown that women and people of color are less likely to apply to jobs unless they meet every single qualification. At Pairwise we are dedicated to building a diverse, inclusive and authentic workplace, so if you’re excited about this role but your past experience doesn’t align perfectly with every qualification in the job description, we encourage you to apply anyways. You may be just the right candidate for this or other roles.


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