SunChips Go Green
Make some noise, Canada! And by “make some noise”, I really mean, eat some SunChips.
What am I talking about? I’ll let the good folks at Frito Lay explain: “The new SunChips compostable bag has caused quite a lot of noise for being noisy,” says Tony Matta, Frito Lay Canada’s vice president of marketing. “We’ve had a record number of calls and emails to our office since we launched in February 2010, and despite what you may have heard, SunChips is and always was keeping the bag here in Canada. We believe that trading off a little noise in order to help shrink our footprint on the planet is worth it.”
The Americans didn’t feel the same and yanked the earth-friendly bags from store shelves due to complaints about the crinkle-crinkle noises.
So why are the new compostable bags so noisy? They get their loudness from a plant-based material called polylactic acid (PLA), a material that is more than 90-percent renewable. The sound is distinct from a traditional chips bag because the materials are not as soft at room temperature. That said, they will completely break down in a hot, active compost pile in about 14 weeks. And I think that’s a fair trade-off for a bit of tinny-sounding annoyance.
To get the word out, Frito Lay Canada sent some bags of tasty Harvest Cheddar whole grain SunChips to the House & Home office, along with earplugs (nice touch), so that we could judge the noisy bags for ourselves. The chips were as cheesy and satisfying as ever, but here’s our take on the infamous bags:
Photo editor Leslie Williams (above): “My roommate is the kind of crazy that storms out of the room and slams the door at the sound of people eating chips. That being said, the sound of the loudest, most metallic sounding chip bag in the universe, in combination with the crunch of tasty chips, did not go over well in our house. There was yelling…. the SunChips are now banned.”
Katie Gougeon, assistant editor: “Well, I certainly wouldn’t bring it to a movie theatre or a room full of newborns, but I think the eco benefits far outweigh the noise factor — more chip companies should do it!”
Deanna Wong, assistant editor: “Yes, the bags are loud, but who cares? Those chips are delicious and I’ll probably buy them more because of the bag! I still can’t believe they discontinued the bag in the U.S. due to complaints about the noise.”
As for my take on the compostable bags — are they really that loud? Actually, yes. The sound is not unlike crumpling extra-thin aluminum foil while wearing gloves made from steel wool. But you know what? Open the bag, pour them into a bowl and munch away. Problem solved.