With mounting pressure on bakery businesses to optimise sustainability, the use of data and digital processes is becoming a must-have ingredient to achieve environmental goals seamlessly. 

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In the heart of the UK’s culinary landscape, the baking industry is undergoing a transformation that’s as profound as a perfectly risen loaf. This change isn’t driven solely by the quest for the fluffiest croissant or the crustiest baguette; it’s about embracing digital transformation to support sustainability goals and unlock a host of critical insights and benefits.

A recent report released by TraceGains highlighted the disconnect between well-meaning brands and their ability to deliver sustainable products in the context of an increasingly complex global supply chain. Despite the challenges, most food and beverage brands expressed a strong desire to embrace environmental, sustainability and governance (ESG) objectives, with many seeking the ability to stand behind claims to ensure that ingredients in their supply chains are properly sourced and labelled. In fact, 41% of companies surveyed feel they are currently falling short of achieving ESG standards.

Data capture and sharing: the flour that binds it all together

In today’s baking industry, data is the yeast that helps it rise to the occasion. Data in silos causes huge inefficiencies, added time, cost and energy. Bakeries are now seeking to utilise digital tools to capture and share data at every stage of the production process from monitoring ingredient sourcing to tracking energy consumption. However, nearly half (42%) of respondents to the TraceGains ESG survey claimed to rely on informal methods to select ingredient suppliers, such as word-of-mouth conversations (23%) or relying solely on suppliers’ claims (35%). Data-driven insights enable bakeries to optimise sourcing and operations, as well as reduce waste, further backed up with 46% of respondents prioritising partners who showcase ESG credentials when selecting or sourcing. However, only 16% of brands currently use a formal, technology-assisted selection process for validating partners.

Driving sustainable practices through digital solutions

Digital transformation isn’t just about efficient operations; it’s also a catalyst for sustainability. Gartner’s identification of the top 10 data and analytics trends for 2023 emphasises the importance of data-driven decision-making. Bakeries are using advanced analytics to optimise ingredient sourcing, reduce transport-related emissions and decrease packaging waste.

In the pursuit of sustainable practices, bakeries are increasingly turning to cutting-edge digital solutions. These software platforms are revolutionising new product development (NPD) by providing a streamlined approach to ideation and prototyping. With the power of data-driven insights, bakeries can identify eco-friendly ingredients and formulations that align with sustainability goals. Additionally, digital SaaS solutions play a pivotal role in ensuring compliance with stringent environmental and food safety regulations. They enable real-time monitoring of ingredient sources, production processes, and packaging materials, allowing bakeries to maintain the highest standards of sustainability and compliance.

Digital transformation is optimising supply chains in the UK baking industry. Precise demand forecasting, made possible through digital tools, reduces food waste, aligning with sustainability goals. Furthermore, digital solutions are aiding in supply chain optimisation. With precise demand forecasting and route optimisation, bakeries can reduce unnecessary transportation emissions and minimise their carbon footprint.

By harnessing the capabilities of these digital tools, bakeries can not only reduce their environmental impact but also stay at the forefront of sustainable innovation, driving lasting positive change in the industry.

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The importance of networks in driving sustainability

In the interconnected world of baking, networks play a pivotal role in promoting sustainability. Static, linear relationships are a thing of the past, with the modern supply chain being a complex web of interconnected relationships. Collaborative networked platforms allow bakeries to share critical data in real-time, exchange best practices, source sustainable ingredients, and collectively work towards eco-friendly packaging solutions. These networks not only foster innovation but also create a sense of community dedicated to sustainability.

The symbiotic relationship between digital transformation and sustainability is no longer a rising trend; it’s the essential recipe for success in the modern baking industry. Organisations that embrace digital solutions for data capture, adopt sustainable practices, and engage in industry networks are not only reducing their environmental impact but also securing a competitive edge.

Leading sustainability through digital transformation: TraceGains paves the way

Amidst the sweeping digital revolution reshaping the baking industry, TraceGains emerges as a pioneer, offering vital support to bakery businesses in their quest for digitalisation and sustainability. As the driving force behind the world’s first Networked Ingredient Marketplace, TraceGains equips bakery businesses and ingredient suppliers with a robust suite of digital tools for businesses of all size.

One of the core pillars of TraceGains’ support is its unwavering commitment to fostering sustainability within bakery operations, encompassing reformulation, NPD, compliance and sourcing efficiency.

In the realm of ingredient sourcing, TraceGains provides access to an unparalleled network that empowers bakeries to adeptly manage supplier relationships, monitor ingredient quality and compliance, and make informed sourcing decisions. This digitalisation of sourcing not only guarantees a consistent supply of high-quality ingredients but also reduces sourcing costs and minimises the environmental footprint associated with transportation and resource utilisation, aligning with sustainable practices.

Innovation serves as the heartbeat of the baking industry, and TraceGains plays a pivotal role in nurturing sustainability through NPD. The platform offers access to an extensive ingredient database, enabling bakeries to explore innovative and sustainable ingredients and formulations. Moreover, it facilitates seamless collaboration with suppliers, streamlining the introduction of eco-friendly products while ensuring strict adherence to regulatory standards.

Compliance with stringent food safety and regulatory norms is paramount within the bakery sector, and TraceGains rises to the challenge. It provides indispensable features such as lot-level compliance tracking, automated Certificate of Analysis (COA) comparison, and supplier scorecards. These tools empower bakeries to maintain unwavering compliance, ensuring product safety, transparency, and a reduced risk of regulatory issues – all crucial elements of sustainability.

At the core of digital transformation is data management, a pivotal factor in enhancing sustainability. TraceGains excels in this aspect by enabling bakeries to centralise and standardise critical data related to food safety and traceability. This approach not only ensures product integrity but also facilitates real-time monitoring and reporting, allowing swift responses to quality or safety concerns, promoting sustainable practices.

By embracing TraceGains’ digital toolkit, bakery businesses can seamlessly integrate themselves into the ongoing digital revolution, thus becoming champions of sustainability. These tools empower data-driven decision-making, streamline supply chain optimisation, and foster fruitful collaboration with suppliers and industry networks to realise sustainability goals in an ever-evolving market.

As the baking industry rises to meet the sustainability challenge, embrace the digital revolution and let your bakery’s sustainability efforts rise to perfection.

To discover more about TraceGains can help facilitate your sustainability goals, click here.