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Director - Customer, Category & Shopper Insights

Mississauga, ON

A Sustainable, Forward Thinking Protein Company

Maple Leaf Foods is a leading meat and plant-based protein company, employing over 11,500 people and publicly traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange. We are proud of our roots, which trace back well over 100 years, but our vision and purpose are decidedly forward looking. As we pursue our vision to become the most sustainable protein company on earth, we are committed to creating shared value – creative business value through addressing some of the world’s most critical social and environmental challenges. Our goal is to build a more sustainable food system, which provides nutritious affordable food, operates within planetary limits, cares for animals responsibly, and meaningfully engages with our communities to advance a more just society. We are advancing bold changes within Maple Leaf and more broadly within society to pursue our vision. We deeply believe this is the sustainable path to growth.

Our job is to make great food

Maple Leaf Foods embraces a strong values-based culture, where our people are deeply engaged in work that is purposeful, fast-paced and challenging.We cultivate an open, non-bureaucratic and inclusive workplace that fosters safety and transparency, along with individual leadership and accountability. Each Maple Leaf team member has a voice and plays an active role in helping all of us achieve our goals with passion and discipline. We support one another to grow professionally, to learn new skills and to take on challenging experiences in the spirit of continuous improvement

Raise the Good in Food

We have united behind a shared purpose – to Raise the Good in Food. This spans a dramatic transformation of our flagship Maple Leaf brand, replacing anything artificial with simple, natural ingredients; investments and process changes to reduce our environmental footprint by 50% by 2025; building a diverse and inclusive culture where all talent thrives; becoming a leader in animal care; and advancing food security through our charitable foundation, the Maple Leaf Centre for Action on Food Security.

Our Leadership Values 

Eight core values guide us in everything that we do.
  • Do What’s Right
  • Shared Value
  • High Performance
  • Diverse and Inclusive Teams
  • Disciplined Decision Making
  • Our Accountability
  • Intense Curiosity
  • Transparency and Humility

The Opportunity

The Director Customer, Category & Shopper Insights is responsible for leading a team of Customer Insights Managers (5 CIM’s), Vendor Advisors (2 VA’s), a Shelving & Assortment Insights Manager, and an Analyst through a complex stakeholder group of Customer Business Teams, External Customer Contacts, and Internal stakeholders (i.e. Marketing, Trade Marketing, Executives, etc.).  The mandate of the role is to leverage past experiences, a large syndicated and custom data set, as well as other software tools to enable growth in the business.  Utilizing the category management principles of Shelving, Assortment, Price, and Promotion, the incumbent will lead a strategic agenda to add value across all stakeholders and deliver a tangible and measurable ROI to the business.  The successful candidate will possess a vast knowledge of industry best practices in Customer, Category and Shopper analytics and have a passion for motivating and inspiring a team to continually evolve and optimize its capabilities.

A snapshot of some of the exciting things you will lead and do:

  • Weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual analysis of customer specific data (Nielsen MarketTrack & Cross Outlet Facts, Retailer POS/Insights data) to identify performance opportunities, and to recommend solutions to close gaps.
  • Retailer driven category reviews that integrate POS and consumer data, resulting in the establishment of strategies for assortment, pricing, promotion & shelving that reflect the retailer’s and Maple Leaf’s strategies.
  • Establish and maintain excellent working relationships with Category Managers, Directors & Strategic Merchandising Teams within the retailer’s organization.
  • Research, share and leverage global best practices or pertinent category trends with key Internal & External stakeholders
  • With Customer Business Team and Retailer’s Category Managers, play an active role in providing retailer specific solutions for closing performance gaps, and creating the story to enable sales to execute.
  • Leverage Shopper and Category Research to provide recommendations for assortment and execute shelf strategy within a retailer including creating base plan-o-grams/plan-o-guides and innovative merchandising solutions
  • Selling presentations that advance our brand performance with retailers, highlighting opportunities and specific recommendations.
  • Deliver category insights that explain current performance or the impact of tactics implemented to deliver targets.
  • Work collaboratively with Customer Business Team, marketing, customer insights / category development, and shopper marketing to create solutions to solve business issues or realize opportunities.
  • Proactive identification and resolution of potential business, category, SKU level issues.

What we have to offer you:

  • Be part of a company with an inspiring and unique vision, with a deep commitment to sustainability and expanding its leadership in sustainable protein across North America
  • Professional and career development opportunities, supported by our commitment to talent development through our partnership with the Ivey School of Business. 
  • Competitive Health and Wellness benefits that start on your first day of employment
  • Defined Contribution Pension Plan
  • Commitment to Learning – courses, resources and tools provided to all employees
  • Employee Assistance Program

What you will bring:

  • University degree in business or related area
  • 10 years of experience in Category Management with 3 years managing/leading people in consumer packaged goods
  • Experience with merchandising in a variety of retail formats including traditional, discount, convenience and warehouse stores considered an asset.
  • Proven track record of driving above industry results
  • Deep industry contacts and proven customer relationships
  • Knowledge and proficiency with retailer loyalty program data sources (e.g. precima), and advanced knowledge and proficiency with Nielsen tools (answers desktop, answers, cross-outlet facts) is imperative
  • Ability to synthesize a variety of data sources into presentations that are easily understood.
  • Must be able to provide strong, executable recommendations
  • Excellent written, verbal and interpersonal communications, listening and presentation skills
  • Strong project and time management skills are required
  • A progressive, collaborative approach that is eager to embrace technology and modern management principles.
  • Proactive nature and demonstrated strength working cross functionally to drive issue resolution
  • Ability to make quick and timely decisions and comfortable working in a fast-paced environment, complex environment.
  • Strong negotiation skills and experience in dealing with retailers and vendors
  • Working knowledge of finance and/or accounting in terms of budgeting cost management, financial accounting, etc.
  • Experience with a P&L business unit or division management
Maple Leaf Foods is committed to ensuring the health and safety of all our employees.  As part of this commitment, we have adopted a number of COVID-19 safety measures, including a requirement for all employees to be fully vaccinated by March 31, 2022 and to show proof of vaccination.   In keeping with this policy, successful candidates will need to provide proof of vaccination by March 31, 2022 (or prior to their first day of work if the start date is after March 31, 2022).  We will of course consider accommodations for anyone unable to be vaccinated following human rights and other applicable laws


We thank all applicants for their interest in exploring employment opportunities with Maple Leaf Foods; however, only those selected for an interview will be contacted. Applicants may be subject to a background check and must meet the security criteria designated for the position.

Championing diversity and inclusion is a critical component to advancing our collective purpose and vision, living the Maple Leaf Leadership Values, and delivering winning results. Accommodation is available upon request for applicants with disabilities in the recruitment and assessment process and when hired; please contact our Talent Attraction Team at accommodations@mapleleaf.com.

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