Frito Lay’s journey towards sustainable snack packaging took an unexpected detour this week, when they announced that they are withdrawing their revolutionary compostable Sun Chips bag.
It’s just too crinkly.
Apparently the excessive noise is just too much for consumers, who would prefer to reduce their ecological footprint quietly. A Facebook group called “SORRY BUT I CAN’T HEAR YOU OVER THIS SUN CHIPS BAG” has 44,000 fans, and there are quite a few youtube videos circulating on the topic.
The Sun Chips folks have been on an aggressive timeline to make the snack line solar powered, compostable, all natural and earth friendly. I have watched with skepticism… and then admiration…as they committed to pushing the envelope on green snacking (if there is such a thing in a category that involves moving small bags of air around the country on trucks.)
But part of this aggressiveness may have been because they started advertising some of these benefits before they were available. I guess consumers responded favorably to the ads (such as the one below)…Frito Lay they seems to have skipped the usual intense consumer testing regime that major brands typically put their new products through.
I haven’t seen any announcements for leaf blower or Harley recalls, so I suppose we have to assume that noise is a bigger issue with salty extruded grain products than it is for gas powered machinery. And I suppose an extra 20 decibels could be a pretty annoying change. But would consumers have complained as much if the bag made the chips $.25 cheaper? Probably not. When it comes to greener products consumers seem to expect little personal inconvenience. But sometimes you can’t have your chips and eat them too.