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Sun Chips Buries Compostable Loud Bag Pilot Says Louder than Cockpit

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by underthesea

underthesea's picture
In The News

Sun Chips heads back to the drawing board—now burying the idea that its "100 percent compostable" packaging is selling to consumers, who pretty much hate the new bags. An Air Force pilot claims SunChips packs are louder than the inside of his jet’s cockpit and register at 95 decibels. The Sun Chips brand has been proud of its packaging idea--made from plant product and good for the environment, but apparently not so good for snackers. That, in turn, equals not so good for sales. Gizmodo’s described the newer, greener, Sun Chips bags as "hilariously, ear-damagingly loud," Stephen Colbert weighing in on the issue in his attached video segment entitled "Tiny Triumphs-Environmental Ear Pollution", and even the Wall Street Journal reporting on the noisy packaging about a month ago: “It [Sun Chips bag packaging] is louder than "the cockpit of my jet," said J. Scot Heathman, an Air Force pilot, in a video probing the issue that he posted on his blog under the headline "Potato Chip Technology That Destroys Your Hearing." Mr. Heathman tested the loudness using a RadioShack sound meter, where squeezing the bag supposedlly recorded a 95 decibel level. Tostitos Scoops chips packaging, also manufactured by Frito-Lay brand, measured a 77 in comparison. The result: after being ridiculed far and wide, Sun Chips buries the compostable bag—opting again for the less eco-friendly. Issued by SunChips has been the statement that, “While there was a huge amount of enthusiasm surrounding the launch of our compostable SunChips bag, we've also received feedback regarding how the new packaging has affected the consumer experience, including its noise. In response, we’re taking steps to improve our 100 percent compostable bag in order to address your concerns. We have several new compostable package options in the works that look promising and look forward to introducing the next generation compostable bag to consumers in the near future.” It remains unclear as to the “huge amount of enthusiasm surrounding the launch of…compostable bags” refers to enthusiasm of SunChips marketers or consumers. At least one consumer study seems to have been skipped in the bags’ introduction—the chip packaging made fun of, far and wide: The packaging has been ridiculed in so many venues that even Facebook groups popped up, related to the compostable sacks. Claims abounded that "Nothing is louder than a SunChips bag" and "I wanted SunChips but my roommate was sleeping...". Frito Lay says some of its SunChips will continue to be available in the loud bag --perhaps until current stock runs out anyway. The Frito Lay company is heading back to previous packaging—making Sun Chips chips available in its original, traditional plastic packaging again. Frito-Lay's North America manager admits that the newer, compostable SunChips bags do have a different volume level: "it is definitely a different sound than the conventional packaging that we would typically utilize. It's kind of a louder, higher-pitched noise." Some things are better left unsaid: Frito-Lay spokesman Chris Kuechenmeister insists the Sun Chips packaging has not been a failure for the company. "We broke new ground," he argues. Well, maybe--perhaps ground soon to contain those compostable packages.

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