Frito-Lay Silences Noisy SunChips Bags

Frito-Lay (Stock Quote: PEP) announced Tuesday that it’s getting rid of biodegradable SunChips bags and reverting back to the original packaging in response to complaints that the current bags are too noisy.

The company first introduced the biodegradable bags back in April 2009 to appeal to more environmentally-conscious consumers. The bags are made from plants and are supposed to be more compostable, even though some question how eco-friendly the bags really are. Unfortunately, while this strategy may have appealed to some, it also infuriated many others because the bags made too much noise.

The bags’ critics have been pretty harsh, calling it the “loudest bag ever." In fact, at the moment, there are nearly 50,000 members of a Facebook group called, “Sorry But I Can’t Hear You Over This Sun Chips Bag.” In case you’re wondering, here is what the bag really sounds like.

So it seems that Frito-Lay may have damaged its brand twice, first by producing a comically loud product that annoys consumers and again by earning a spot in headlines for having to effectively recall its own bags.

In a statement, Frito-Lay confessed that many of its customers were aggravated by the noise of the bags, saying “We clearly heard their feedback.” As a result, all but one of the six SunChips varieties will now come in standard chip bags that are not biodegradable.

Yet, the drama of the biodegradable chip bag raises a larger question: What is more important to consumers, being green or being quiet?

Earlier this week, the New York Times reported that lawsuits have popped up around the country from families who live in towns with windmills. These families complain that even though the windmills may help the environment, the constant sound of the blades turning is just too noisy to live near.

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