Every GNC product is researched, reviewed and brought to market by the retailer’s expert in-house team of Researchers, Scientists, Nutritionists, and Dietitians. The company is comprised of a committed group of experts – one dedicated to innovation, leadership, and passionate about being part of an institution of creators. And GNC is doubling down on its consumer-centric innovation with the promotion of Rachel Jones, MS, RDN. Jones, a nearly 20-year GNC veteran, has been named Senior Vice President, Chief Product Innovation and Science Officer, responsible for upholding the company’s standard of innovation since 1935.
Overseeing a cross-functional group of 40 associates at the forefront of GNC’s commitment to helping consumers Live Well, while also partnering nationally with recognized researchers, scientists, toxicologists, statisticians and universities, Jones plays a key role in advancing the company’s commitment to innovation, science-backed products, and a consumer-centric mindset. Under her leadership, she has built an industry-leading integrated product innovation function which includes Product Design and Development, Product Brand Strategy, and Scientific Affairs functions.
“Rachel is one of the most influential leaders at GNC. Her role naturally lends itself to cross-disciplinary collaboration, but her team-first mentality enables us to achieve our goals and build community,” said Karlyn Mattson, EVP, Chief Merchandising Officer, GNC. “Elevating her into this position creates an even deeper connection between our products, consumers, and business strategy to help more people Live Well. We know Rachel is the right person for this role at such an important inflection point in our business and are proud to call her part of the GNC team.”
Jones joined GNC in 2004 as a Project Manager in the Innovation, Research and Development team. Over the course of more than 12 years in that department she contributed to or led the development of more than 2,000 GNC brand products. She then pivoted to the company’s International group where she brought global perspective to brands, products, and services across approximately 65 countries. After five years in the International team, she moved into leadership roles shaping the vision of product innovation across the enterprise.
“We are focused on deepening our innovative and inclusive community of leaders and creators across all tiers of our organization,” said Yong Kai Wong, Executive Vice Chairman, GNC. “Rachel’s leadership has allowed us to build an incredible internal team, as well as identifying and working with leading external partners, to deliver innovative products. She will continue to drive forward our consumer-centric brand and product roadmap that is grounded in research, trends, and testing, as we seek ways to drive the market forward.”
In her new role as Chief Product Innovation and Science Officer, Jones will elevate GNC’s unique market positioning while also delivering the company’s investment in innovation across four key areas:
- Product Design and Development – Creating and managing the global innovation roadmap while also leading the development, research, and testing processes to inform products across 20+ private brands.
- Product Brand Strategy – Cultivating impactful positioning strategies for owned product brands such as this year’s Concept X, one of the biggest launches in recent GNC history.
- Scientific Affairs – Leading a team of technical experts responsible for ensuring the safety and efficacy of ingredients, technologies and formulations.
- GNCX Innovations – Directing the efforts of GNC’s in-house process designed to rapidly engage with consumers and deliver market leading innovation through trial of new brands and products.
Throughout her career Jones has established herself as a trusted expert both within the four walls of GNC as well as throughout the health and wellness industry. She’s been part of more than 35 clinical studies on GNC formulations in multivitamins, protein, weight management, and sports nutrition while also being featured by respected publications and events including QVC, Bustle, Insider, and the National Strength and Conditioning Conference.
“I’m excited to tackle the opportunities that exist for GNC as a business today and set us up for continued success in the future,” Jones said. “We continue to identify new products and opportunities to deliver on our mission of Living Well through industry-leading products and ingredients that help our consumers achieve their goals.”
A former Division 1 cross country athlete, Jones is highly involved in the category including as a member of both the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and National Dietetics Organization as well as involvement across local and state nutrition and dietetic groups. She has also served on the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Advisory Board and was previously recognized as Young Dietitian of the Year by the Pennsylvania Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.