Frito-Lay is making a big noise with a quieter SunChips bag that’s also biodegradable. The company pulled the original biodegradable bag from store shelves for being so loud, and hopes the new bag will excite consumers and bring back sales. It also expects that the revised technology will quiet critics.


Frito-Lay, Plano, Texas, introduced a biodegradable bag in April 2009 with a big marketing plan that promoted its environmentally-friendly attributes. Made from plants, the bag would eventually break down in a compost heap. But when consumers complained that the bag was too loud and the stiff bag material gave off a loud crinkling noise, criticism grew so deafening that by October 2010, the company switched back to its original bag for U.S. distribution.

PepsiCo Inc., which owns Frito-Lay, spent most of 2010 trying to find a solution to the noisy bag. The company found a different adhesive to use with two layers of the bag-one inner layer to protect the chips and an outer layer that carries the print and labeling-created a sort of noise barrier.

Brad Rodgers, manager of sustainable packaging for PepsiCo advanced research, reports that engineers looked at dozens of possible options. The razor-thin layer of adhesive didn’t seem like it could solve such a big problem, but engineers found a more rubber-like adhesive that absorbed some of the sound.

The new bag will only be available with plain-variety SunChips, the only one of the varieties that never switched back to plastic. The company says it will determine the customer response before deciding whether to move the new packaging to the rest of the line. The new bag should start arriving in stores now.

Source: The Canadian Press, www.huliq.com