SunChips, the solar-inspired snack with an environmental conscience, has announced it will discontinue its new compostable bag at the behest of consumers who complained the packaging housing the snack with “18 grams of whole grain delicious!!” unleashed a cacophonous assault upon the ears of unsuspecting gastronomes.
Frito-Lay North America, Inc., the folks who produce SunChips, say sales of the snack chip are down 11 percent over the past year as a result of displeasure with the bags. SunChips is now at work on the next generation of quieter compostable bags, although the company’s website makes no mention of when such bags will be available. Sometimes, trying to do the right thing isn’t so easy.
While SunChips deserves praises for its compostable bag attempt, the company takes a somewhat peculiar perspective when it comes to greening its practices. For example, its website touts the new solar panels at its Modesto, Calif., production facility (good), but with language that belies an environmental naiveté (not so good).
“What if you could use the sun’s rays as energy? At SunChips we found a way to capture them so that they don’t go to waste.”
No way, use the sun’s rays as energy? What marvels those scientists at SunChips Laboratories have discovered! Are these so-called “solar panels” noisy? And finally, putting the sun’s rays to use instead of wasting them on things like plants, grasses and trees; that’s gotta leave a good taste in your mouth.
Joking aside, SunChips is a perfect example of the mixed reception, and unintended consequences, green technologies can sometimes encounter. And, while loud packaging may seem a petty complaint, the company must listen to its consumers and respond accordingly. So, kudos to SunChips for moving toward more sustainable business practices–even if it doesn’t fully understand the context of its greener direction–and expect a new and improved compostable snack package in the near future promising twice the flavor and 50 percent less crumple noise.