How Bakery SMEs can take their supply chain to the next level

by Karsten Smet, CEO, ACI Group

Mar 2023

Worried about the cost-of-living crisis? Many small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are. Between a rise in the cost of raw material goods, energy and business rates, the road ahead for SMEs is a challenging one, but it is not impossible.

The Chancellor unveiled in his Spring Budget 2023 that help is on its way for SMEs with the Energy Bills Discount Scheme beginning 1st April (1), with more support for those with the most intensive energy usage, and a new tax credit for those that spend 40% of their expenditure on R&D (2). This is coupled with a new investment allowance that will reduce tax liabilities for those investing in new IT equipment, plant or machinery (3).

At ACI, we understand bakeries are facing one of their toughest years yet. With the rise in energy costs, combustion efficiency is one of the biggest challenges in the industry for any size business. For smaller bakeries, there is also the added issue of navigating raw material price volatility and supply chain disruption, which are major challenges for cash-strapped and time-poor bakeries. It is therefore critical to implement systems and processes that can assist in these areas where possible, while taking advantage of government initiatives to invest in new or upgraded equipment.

How we’re supporting bakeries

As a leading UK distributor working with small start-ups to large high street brands, we’re acutely aware of our role in the global supply chains of our customers. Whether that’s in helping to point bakeries in the right direction to additional funding to encourage growth, or by finding cost-effective ingredient suppliers that share your environmental values, produce locally or fit your formulation needs, ACI Group proudly delivers extra value at every touch point. This means we’re more than just a distributor, we’re a company that focuses on delivering excellent value for our customers, day in and day out.

As part of our Naturis brand, we have a range of ingredient solutions – from plant-based proteins and fibres to value-added ingredients that promote shelf-life, stability and sensorial attributes from our Synevo range – that can help you navigate raw material price volatility.

Our robust relationships with ingredient suppliers like GreenFields, IFF, Soy Austria and Goodmills mean that should something go amiss, our dedicated sales team can step in and support you to find an ingredient that works for your business at the right price. With a distributor like us, you no longer need to worry about dealing with multiple suppliers and supply chain headaches – we do the hard work for you.

Encouraging growth through digital transformation

A distribution partner that recognises, understands and inspires bakeries is key to delivering a great customer experience. At ACI Group, we are encouraging SMEs to invest in digital technology to remain competitive – something that the government is also championing with its latest tax reduction incentive. To this effect, we have recently launched Oomph CRM, a digital customer relationship management (CRM) tool that helps bakeries solve their data visibility challenges. 

Oomph CRM not only helps to build resilience, increase market share, and minimise the impact of real-time disruptions to our customers, but it also integrates seamlessly with solutions bakeries are already using – like Office 365, Sage or Quickbooks. The solution automates data processes, tracks your company performance with clear communications and helps you nurture customer relationships to enable business growth and save you time. We know the bakery industry needs a solution that can pinpoint where inefficiencies in the supply chain are hiding – and with Oomph and ACI working in conjunction with bakeries, the road to recovery is in sight. For bakeries, manufacturers and processers that are looking for a distributor that can tick all the boxes, ACI Group may just be the partner of choice.

We’re proud of our UK talent

As proud sponsors of the National Bakery Awards 2023, we’re looking forward to discovering the country’s rising stars of bakery innovation as a judge on the awards panel. Taking place on 12th July at Euston Square in London, we can’t wait to meet you at the Awards. Stop by our tabletop stand in the evening to pick up a sample or two of our exciting ingredients and chat to us about your upcoming innovations!

For more information on our expert ingredient solutions, visit

1., Energy Bills Discount Scheme, January 2023
2. 3., Spring Budget 2023, March 2023

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