Frito-Lay made a marketing blunder last year when it unveiled biodegradable SunChips bags that were louder than a screeching subway when rustled. The move triggered widespread irritation/heckling among customers—and caused SunChips sales to drop by as much as 11% over the 52 weeks after the bags became available. Now the company thinks it has found a solution: a rubbery adhesive sandwiched between the two layers of the bag to create a noise barrier.
The biodegradable SunChips bags were introduced in March 2010 to much fanfare, with the company touting the bag's compostable, plant-based outer layer. But Frito-Lay quickly realized that the bags were trouble when a Facebook group called "Sorry But I Can't Hear You Over This SunChips Bag" gathered more than 44,000 fans.
So Frito-Lay got rid of the biodegradable bags last October for all flavors except Original SunChips. Four months later, the company has discovered that a simple rubbery adhesive placed between the bag's layers can cut its sound to 70 decibels, compared to up to 85 decibels for the original biodegradable bags.
The new bags are already hitting store shelves with Original SunChips. If all goes well, Frito-Lay will roll out the bags to all SunChips flavors. And if it doesn't? Frito-Lay should brace itself for another biodegradable bag riot.