SunChips' biodegradable bag killed by media?
Corporate America has been slow to adapt to help create a world that's less prone to contribute to our growing mountains of garbage. So when Frito-Lay came up with bags made of plant materials for its SunChips snacks that completely break down without a trace in a composting bin in about 14 weeks, it seemed like the company deserved a pat on the back. After all, it's hard to find anyone who would argue for more trash. But then the media got around to hopping on the bandwagon of those who complained about the noise the new packages make. This morning, for instance, a member of the 9News morning team in Denver kept crinkling the bag until everyone else on the set was completely annoyed with SunChips. Get them out of the studio!Worry no more crinkly-bag-hating mediaites at 9News (and everywhere else, it seems). As AP writes, "Hush! Frito-Lay to pull most noisy SunChips bags." The company will go back to using landfill-clogging plastic bags for five of the six varieties of the chips, keeping the loud biodegradable bag only for its original flavor, which is its second-best seller.
It's definitely a marketing setback for a company that spent a lot of time on its "dream of a world with less waste" and maybe not enough time convincing folks in the media that its efforts would benefit everyone. Not that the company didn't try. "Truth be told," Frito-Lay marketing materials state, "our compostable bag sounds a bit different than our other bags. That's because the plant-based materials used to make our compostable bag have different sound qualities than the materials used to make our other bags. Although our compostable bag is a bit louder, we hope you'll appreciate its environmental benefits."
As Frito-Lay reverts, for the most part, to tried-and-true marketing (i.e. petroleum products... plastic bags), it's worth wondering what people thought of the first plastic bags. Certainly when they were introduced some grumbled that they were louder and more annoying than paper sacks or cloth. It seems Americans -- encouraged by the media, to a certain degree -- have decided it is better to complain about new sounds than to praise a company for its best efforts to reduce mounds of trash. Go figure.
Image: What a SunChips bag looks like after biodegrading for 10 weeks.