Category Specialist - Pastry/Chocolate

Job Description

Company: European Imports
Location: US-IL-Arlington Heights
Zip Code: 60005
Minimum Level of Education: Bachelor's Degree
Minimum Years of Experience: 7
Position Type: Exempt
Travel Percentage: Up to 75%



Category Specialist Job Description

Under general supervision-The role of the European Imports Category Specialist is to optimize European Import’s category assortment and category performance. This position is also accountable to supporting European Imports category growth initiatives through sales support, education and category expertise for assigned categories.

Product Assortment Management:

Manage a collection of industry relevant Imported, Specialty, & Gourmet food and ingredient products to serve retail and foodservice customers

  • Owning and developing professional vendor, broker, producer relationships & partnerships
  • Determine the supply source of imported and domestic items that are aligned with core assortment initiatives to meet the needs of retail and foodservice customers
  • Consistently challenge current product sources, product quality, acquired pricing, and product standards to engage positive migrations
  • Business Reviews- Development and implementation of formal & informal business review practices with suppliers utilizing: reporting, analysis, and insights.
  • Manage category assortment with relevance to current industry trends and insights
  • Evaluate and respond to customer driven product request
  • Facilitator of new item and new vendor build processes. Facilitate submission of: new vendor forms, new item forms, COI and HHA submissions, other required documents in keeping with compliances, and the completion of Category Specialist required portions of these forms.
  • Informed participant in European Imports execution and disposition of product recalls, FDA Holds, and European Imports implemented receiving holds for categories of responsibility
  • Sysco’s National Category Management (CatMan) Events- Engaged participant and European Imports owner for European Imports participation and required submissions and supplier negotiations for participation in all relevant Sysco CatMan category reviews which align with assigned categories. Attentive to all communicated deadlines and a participant in required meetings, conference calls etc.
  • Remaining industry relevant is significant to success in this position: tradeshow participation, production plant visits, publications, industry organizations and self-education are a few tools for success (manager approval required for shows/events and vendor related travel)


Category Performance:

Positive engagement in the administrative and operational functions that impact assigned categories financial performance

  • Purchasing- Providing solution based guidance, recommendations, and insights to the buying team specific to, but not limited to: seasonal lifts, hedging purchase opportunities, promotional buys, and events aimed at maintaining and exceeding department target fill & performance rates
  • Pricing-providing insight and guidance into the profitability, competitiveness or lack thereof, into European Imports pricing for assigned categories and drive resolution
  • Obsolete Inventory Reduction-engagement in the reduction of obsolete inventory for assigned categories through collaboration with: buyers, sales, vendors, operations, brokers & Sysco OpCos
  • Scrap Reduction-engagement to meet and exceed European Imports scrap reduction goals for assigned categories through collaboration with: buyers, sales, vendors, operations, brokers & Sysco OpCos. (Scrap defined: Out-of-date due to excessive inventories, inferior packaging, and poor or mis-labeled etc.)
  • SKU Rationalization- Provide guidance and recommendations to the buying team with regards to sku reduction for non-performing, underperforming, and duplicate items
  • Promotions-Participation in the process of securing vendor funded promotions that are aligned with the European Imports Marketing promotion platforms. Accomplished through vendor, broker and European Imports marketing team collaborations
  • Vendor Earned Income-Support and participate in European Imports initiatives and goals specific to inside vendor income and accruals for assigned categories
  • Private Label-Category expertise regarding our sourcing, labeling, packaging, and sales initiatives for European Imports own brand products with managed categories


  • Education and Sales Support:
  • One of the core accountabilities of the Category Specialist position is the Education and Support of the sales organizations of European Imports and Sysco. The “customer” of the European Imports Category Specialist is: European Imports Sales Team, Sysco MA, and Sysco Product Specialist
  • It is expected that the European Import Category specialist be professional in making presentations: confident, knowledgeable, relevant materials, & organized
  • Support and engage in European Imports exhibiting industry shows, European Imports training events, and OpCo events which have been determined and communicated as sales growth opportunities (manager will communicate relevant shows and expectations)


  • Marketing Materials, Publications, Website: Subject Matter Expert (SME) and contributor of relevant articles, trends, product descriptions, and resources for use and inclusion in European Imports newsletters, catalogs, website & other
  • Ambassador of GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice), SQF (Safe Quality Food), within European Imports specific to assigned categories



  • Some degree of travel is expected for this position. Travel should be in compliance within budget and standards set forth by manager and Sysco’s travel and expense policies
  • Participation in team and individual meetings as communicated by manager or other key European Imports leader.
  • Align with expectations of manager for headquarter “office time” to which will allow for collective discussions, team collaboration, and execution of role
  • Other responsibilities as assigned


Applicants must be currently authorized to work in the United States.

European Imports is proud to be an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer, and considers qualified applicants without regard to race, color, creed, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, veteran status or any other protected factor under federal, state or local law.

This opportunity is available through Sysco Corporation, its subsidiaries and affiliates.

Employment Type: Full Time