Five independent UK packaging merchants have formed an action group to “provide a lifejacket” for their many counterparts struggling against a harsh economic background to get a good deal on commodity products.

The Packaging Connections group says that in the last two years many independent merchants have found it so hard to secure good deals on products, ranging from pallet wrap to loose fill, that in 2002 alone 67 went out of business, having found it impossible to compete with the nationals.

Now HFA Ball of Birmingham, Morepack of Ledbury, Frankley Packaging, based in the Black Country, Lawtons of Liverpool and Advanced Packaging of Stoke-on-Trent, are seeking membership from other independents wanting to save money on core product ranges.

Senior liaison officer Neil Willday says: “The core members have done the hard work by sharing commercially sensitive information about the deals they had with their suppliers so we could better them and prove the theory of Packaging Connections actually works. “Joiners will just need a five minute face-to-face meeting with me to find out if the savings we have negotiated are worth their while.”

One member reportedly saved £750 on a single commodity in the first month of membership.

Membership costs £1500 for the year.