International Business Development Manager - Food Industry (m/f/d)

International Business Development Manager - Food Industry (m/f/d)


Job Description

The Company

Our client is a social enterprise that produces and commercializes quinoa, “the mother of grains”, in collaboration with the local agricultural community in the highlands of Ayacucho, Peru, with the aim to help develop a thriving agricultural business, so they can be self-sufficient and make an independent income and consequently improving their social living conditions.
Ayacucho is a region in Peru known for its top quality quinoa: excellent taste, large grains, beautiful colors, and very easy to use in many applications.
The company is vertically integrated (“from field to fork”) and consists of an entity in Peru sourcing and processing quinoa and an entity in Belgium responsible for the commercialization and after sales services to their customers (retail, food industry, food service, wholesalers) in Europe as well as other continents.
In order to guarantee constant high quality, a sustainable cooperation model has been developed with Ayacuchan farmers (> 500 families), providing them daily technical assistance, from sowing to harvest, including bio-certification. The conversion into consumer-ready products takes place according to the strictest standards and controls in the field of food safety and hygiene in a local processing plant. The joint venture (cross-participation) in this local processor provides control over the entire value chain and guarantees “100% traceability”, which is an important quality label as well as a very important differentiator.
The Belgian entity, with warehouse in Antwerp and offices in Ghent, offers quinoa in various forms to its clients: dry grains (all colors, organic or conventional, bulk or packed), flakes, pops and flour (in bulk for the food industry) as well as dry mixes and ready-to-eat mixes (for retail, under private label and food service).
The combination of high quality quinoa, full traceability and social impact makes our client a unique player in the market. Additionally increasing health awareness and changing consumption patterns are resulting in higher demands for quinoa and contribute to a relevant growth potential for our client.


In order to maintain the social impact on the farmers and their families, our client has the ambition to significantly increase overall volumes and revenue in the short term. In order to achieve this, they have decided on setting up and developing an Industry channel, in addition to Retail, and to strengthen the team with a driven and hands-on Business Development Manager (”BDM”) - Food Industry.

As Business Development Manager Food Industry, reporting to the CEO, you will start in a new position and play a vital role in the further growth and development of the company and contribute to the economical and social impact on the local Ayacuchan farmer’s community. You will be responsible for setting up, developing and expanding the Food Industry channel into an important pillar within the overall revenue and volumes.

As BDM you will outline plans for new initiatives and projects within the food industry and you will be given full responsibility and autonomy to actively prospect for new customers and to develop sustainable relationships and partnerships with relevant players in the industry and to strongly collaborate with them in a win-win towards identifying new solutions and/or applications for processing quinoa in and/or into (new) consumer products.

Our client is looking for a technical-commercial profile: someone who on the one hand has sufficient knowledge and experience with food ingredients and food technology and the related production processes to be able to search for new solutions / applications / products together with the industry and, on the other hand, someone with a strong commercial flair and sufficient experience and proven success in key client development and management and with a pronounced hunter versus farmer profile.

As BDM you will follow up on the latest consumer interests and behavior - and market trends and product developments.
You will win and grow clients primarily through your passion for food and your ability to understand the language and the needs of the customer; - to identify and suggest new solutions and applications and to surround him with professional advice. These three main axes - technical expertise, business development skills and being able to proactively and strategically think along with the customer – will lead you to the ultimate goal of finding new customers and partners and to further expand and optimize those relationships in order to allow for significant revenue and volume growth.

In this role success will be measured based on predefined business development, new client acquisition and sales and contribution targets / objectives.

Key Responsibilities

The key responsibilities, which will have to be assumed in line with our client’s objectives and in close collaboration with the CEO and Business Development Manager Retail can be summarized as follows:

  • participation in the development and definition of the marketing and sales strategy for the Food Industry, including the setting of priorities and objectives.

  • implementing the strategy, including:

    • achieving sales targets

    • actively prospecting the market for new partners according to the established strategy by relying on your professional network and by initiating and developing strong long term relationships with major customers at C-level in mainly R&D, Product Development and – Management;

    • identifying, qualifying, and developing major application and product opportunities according to the potential and needs of each prospect; meeting and mobilizing all stakeholders around the opportunities under development;

    • act as a sparring partner for (potential) customers by professionally analyzing and translating consumer and customer needs into quinoa based solutions;

    • for qualified prospects, you are responsible for the entire process of interaction with the client, from the initial exchanges, product development, product tests to the conclusion of the contract and sales;

    • exploring and developing novel business opportunities;

    • maintaining and developing the corporate image in the segment via regular promotional activities; attendance at industry functions etc;

  • development and realization of the annual sales and marketing plan and budget for the segment; regular reporting on market - and sales performance;

  • monitoring and consulting management on market and trends, customer needs, local required norms and certifications and competitor strategies, activities and positioning and adjusting the commercial strategy accordingly;

  • stimulating innovation and providing input for the development of customised, modified and new products, solutions and services as well as supporting the resulting launches;

  • becoming and remaining the “trusted advisor” for clients;

  • this position will require frequent local and international travel (in the present time observing the Covid-19 measures).

Required experience / qualification

Ideally the candidate should heave:

  • a Master's degree in a relevant discipline (Food Technology, Bio-engineering, Chemistry, etc.) preferably combined with an MBA;

  • 5 to 10 years of relevant commercial experience with selling to industrial players in the food and beverage industry;

  • good knowledge of the technical aspects of food ingredients and processing technologies and processes, allowing to act as a partner and advisor;.

  • a proven track record of meeting and exceeding targets;

  • a demonstrated relevant and usable network within the food industry (preferred);

  • an excellent knowledge of the industrial food environment and experience with their decision processes for budgeting and allocating resources to projects;

  • strong communication and interpersonal skills with aptitude in building strong long term business relationships, negotiating effectively and giving persuasive advice;

  • strong collaboration and leadership skills; able to inspire people and getting results by influence;

  • excellent organizational, planning and project management skills and able to work at times under high pressure and to strict deadlines;

  • previous experience in a technical commercial position as a requirement;

  • an excellent knowledge of verbal and written Dutch, French and/or English (at least 2);

  • proficient user of Microsoft Office and familiar with CRM tools.

  • Languages: An excellent knowledge of verbal and written Dutch or French and English

Candidate Profile

For this new and responsible role, our client is looking for an outstanding individual with a:

  • passion for food, excellence and client satisfaction;

  • strong entrepreneurial, independent, commercial and self-starting spirit and an ambition and enthusiasm to profitably grow a business;

  • high pro-activity and great sense for initiative, strong determination, lots of energy and an irresistible urge to succeed;

  • strong hunting temperament capable of actively prospecting for new customers and building long term sustainable relationships;

  • exploring and learning mindset, which allows to quickly understand the complexity and opportunities of today's consumer needs and food market and to provide good strategical input combined with a strong dose of creativity allowing to stimulate innovation and actively think along with customers;

  • strong resilient and perseverant nature, thinking positively and able to resolve challenges, difficulties and customer rejection;

  • problem-solving, hands-on and “making things happen” attitude;

  • high level of empathy and social engagement;

  • ability to work from home and willingness to spend considerable time travelling.


The Role Offers

As Business Development Manager you will hold a strategic and challenging role within a solid, growing company in an exciting niche market. You will be part of a social enterprise with ambitious growth plans and you will have an indirect impact on a large number of farming families in Peru.

You will have a chance to work on very exciting projects with international, renowned clients within the Food Industry.

You will join a highly motivated and socially engaged team in a pleasant working environment and no-nonsense culture. You will be given the freedom and responsibility to fill the job according to your insights.

In summary: The combination of high quality quinoa, full traceability and social impact in line with growing consumer interests in more healthier food which is ethically produced in an environmentally sustainable way, with the freedom and autonomy to develop a new channel makes this a very interesting opportunity.


We are looking forward to receiving your online application preferably with a cover letter to our consultant Anouk Melis, stating: : the reasons for your interest and relevant experience summary for this role; your salary expectations or your current salary and your earliest possible starting date. We will contact you as soon as possible.

Please feel free to forward this brief to an acquaintance should this not be of interest to you.