SunChips has always tried to establish itself as an eco-friendly entity in the eyes of consumers. Adding to its efforts of becoming a “green brand,” FritoLay introduced its 100 percent biodegradable bag for its SunChips product line last year.
The outer layer of this biodegradable bag is made up of a compostable plant based material. It is stuck with an adhesive coating to the inner layer that keeps the chips fresh and protected. FastCompany even wrote about the bag, which launched on Earth Day in 2010. “Here’s hoping SunChips’ foray into green bags will [make] compostable bags as commonplace as recyclable soda cans.”
There was just one problem, though, with these superbags – they were extremely noisy, with a whopping noise level of 95 decibels! A social media outcry followed and soon, a Facebook Page emerged with people voicing their concern. Some suspected the crunchy new bag was no more than a new marketing gimmick.
The noise caused by these bags was nothing compared to that caused by the disgruntled consumers pushing SunChips to go back to the drawing board with their packaging. After months of research and development, SunChips introduced a much quieter bag. The Huffington Post writes, “The new design dampens the noise to around 70 decibels, on par with its original packaging and most other chip bags.” And it’s still 100% biodegradable!
Ultimately, however, the important issue here is not whether or not the bag is quieter; it’s about eco-friendliness. The new bags decompose entirely over a span of 14 weeks in a hot compost bin, the idea behind this being to decrease green house gas emissions.
I went out and bought the new bag, to see how a 70 decibel chip bag compared to an 95 decibel one. Surprisingly, 15 decibels makes quite a difference. No longer does it sound like an entire New York City block has stormed my apartment when I rip open the bag. The noise level is now comparable to any other chip bag with which I’m familiar, as attested by the Huffington Post article above.
Some disgruntled Facebook reviewers complained of the old bag’s decreased ability for preservability, which was never a problem I personally experienced, and continues to be a nonissue with this new bag as well for me.
Right now, SunChips has only made this change for its plain-flavored chips, and is awaiting consumer feedback before making any other packaging decisions for its other chip varieties.