Sun Chips "Feel the Noise" campaign
Dallas-based Frito-Lay introduced a biodegradable bag in January for all six of its Sun Chips flavors. But in the U.S., the company reverted back to its standard packaging for most of the flavors because consumers complained the starch-based compostable bags were too noisy. Since October, the biodegradable bags have been available in only Sun Chips' original flavor.
Frito-Lay spokesman Chris Kuechenmeister said the company was developing a second generation version of its biodegradable bags, based on customer feedback.
"It's definitely going to be part of our plans in the future," Kuechenmeister said of biodegradable packaging. "We're not pulling back on it. We're still very committed to it."
Frito-Lay Canada announced, "Our bag is loud, our bag is different, our bag is good for the environment, and our bag will remain on store shelves. [...] We believe that trading off a little noise in order to help shrink our footprint on the planet is worth it."
To see the video:
SunChips (Harvest Cheddar) are one of my very favorite chips. I quit buying them after they switched to what I called The Astronaut Bag (some stretch of a connection to "space age" packaging, plus it made me feel all curmudgeonly and snarky). The first time someone two cubes over from me at work made a comment like, "hey, those good SunChips?" I was done. I know I could have dumped them into a ziploc bag... I did that with the rest of them after the work comment... but it's just not the same. They became far less appealing. I have no logical explanation for this. Purely psychological, I'm sure. I will get them at Subway in the small bags every so often, but those are "normal" bags. And I never bought that whole "biodegrades in 13 weeks" business. From the moment I touched that crinkle-tastic bag, I knew it wasn't going away in my compost pile. I put it in the recycle bin (not even sure how a recycling plant would handle it).
And their compostable claim is dubious: the small print on the bag says "this package is suitable for industrial composting." Consumer Reports did a test of the compostability of the new bag and found it unlikely to decay in a typical home compost bin or pile.
CR "kept one compostable bag in a home compost pile of grass clippings, wood chips, and leaves, with starter dirt mixed in...replenished the pile and wet it when necessary:. According to the photograph in CR the compostable bag merely "looked a bit more wrinkled and mottled than a new one". While their marketing of this bag leads consumers to believe it is "good for the environment" it's more misleading hooey.
Even though I do think the biodegradable bags are quite noisy, I think it's ridiculous that people complained just because of that. Pour the chips into a bowl or onto something else if you think it's too noisy. Is this seriously too much to ask of people in order to help make this planet just a tiny bit less polluted?
This is why I'm so cynical about our future. Once they start using the new biodegradable bags in all their products, I'll be more than happy to give Sun Chips my money.