In addition, once the new package is developed, Frito-Lay plans a slower rollout. The improved compostable bag will be featured in the SunChips Original flavor, allowing Frito-Lay to monitor consumers’ response.
Frito-Lay has bet a lot on its compostable packaging – including a large marketing push. Leaving the original flavor in the compostable bag allows the company to save face, keep some aspects of the marketing campaign in place and avoid a backlash from environmentalists and other stakeholders.
Frito-Lay says the move is aimed at addressing consumers’ feedback about the bag’s noise level. The new bag will also build on the bag’s environmental benefits.
Consumers have compared the SunChips’ bag noise to a “revving motorcycle” and “glass breaking,” reports The Wall Street Journal.
One consumer recorded a 95 decibel level with a RadioShack sound meter, according to the article. In comparison, another Frito-lay brand traditional plastic bag recorded a 77 decibel level.
Brad Rodgers, Frito-Lay’s North American manager of sustainable packaging, told the newspaper the bags are loud due to the new polymers’ higher “glass transition temperature” — when the polymers transition from a harder glasslike state to a rubber state above room temperature. He says the bag gets “kind of crispy and crunchy.”
Boulder Canyon Natural Foods recently released a compostable package for its All Natural Kettle Cooked Potato Chip line. The 7.5-ounce bag is made from wood pulp sourced from plantations that have Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) or similar certification. The new packaging is currently available at select Whole Foods stores across the United States.
A recent study from Global Industry Analysts indicates that biodegradables represent the fastest growing segment in the packaging industry.
Boulder Canyon says the wood pulp bag “feels” and “sounds” like a traditional paper bag of chips compared to noisier corn starch-based bags.