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SunChips: Is Sustainability too Crunchy?

| Friday October 8th, 2010 | 1 Comment

Source: AP Images

It was just last year, with much fanfare, that I heard about the new biodegradable SunChips bag at Sutustainable Brands 09. And while the crunch of the new bags is not new news (it was even reported in the Wall Street Journal), I was surprised and sad to learn yesterday that Frito-Lay has decided to revert to the original non-biodegradable bag for five or its six SunChips brand bags because…of complaints from customers that they are too crunchy.  I kid you not.

There are now dueling SunChips Facebook pages.

One for folks who love the bag.  “Keep SunChips loud and biodegradable!” One fan writes, “If Frito-Lay cares more about a quiet chip bag than they do the environment, then we are done with them.”

And the almost 50,000 members of the “SORRY I CAN’T HEAR YOU OVER THIS SUNCHIPS BAG” page.

The company says they are going back to the drawing board to develop a better bag (check out this great piece from NPR) and to improve “the consumer experience.”

What do you think the REAL reason is for this change?  The drop in sales over the past 18 months since the bag was introduced?   Or perhaps the criticisms about how the bags compost?

It is hard to believe a little crunch was behind this decision.  And a little sad if it was.


Deborah Fleischer is President of Green Impact, a strategic environmental consulting practice that helps companies engage stakeholders and bring their successes to life through words.  Check out our new green team tool, Corp Green.

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  • http://bit.ly/999JsS Marc-Antoine

    I think a drop in sales of 11% would be a good enough reason to go back to the drawing board. After all, there is not much value in selling a ‘green’ product if the market doesn’t want it. This is why it’s great to hear that the company is tweaking the product packaging so that it becomes more ‘palatable’ to chips eaters out there. But can they do it without increasing the product price? Interesting to follow this. But good on Frito Lays for wading into such challenging territory.