Around 250 jobs could go later this year at Innovia Films’ Bridgwater, Somerset plant with the company having started a three-month consultation process with employees and unions on the factory’s future.
The site is one of three – the others are at Wigton, Northumbria and Tecumseh, Kansas, USA producing Cellophane packaging films. Innovia chief executive officer David Beeby says: “Cellophane has been fighting alternative products and technologies for over 30 years. There is a strong residual market but simply not sufficient business to justify our operation of three production plants.”
The Bridgwater plant was opened by British Cellophane in 1937 and by the 1970s employed 3000. It was acquired by UCB Films [now Innovia] in 1996.
Introduced in the 1930s, Cellophane has lost share in high volume applications in the past two decades to “cheaper” plastics like PE but is still widely used in confectionery, cheese and fresh produce packaging, and in niche applications like yeast packaging.