Remember when SunChips bags were deafeningly loud?

SunChips are delicious. This is an opinion that I share with many. I’m grateful that SunChips exist. They contribute to society. But remember when they tried to contribute to ecology?

In 2008, SunChips tried to be the first snack maker to save the planet by using biodegradable, compostable bags. These bags would fully breakdown within 14 weeks of being in a compost pile.

The idea was, SunChips would win the “green” war by packaging their delicious chips in bags that would biodegrade significantly faster than traditional chip bags. “Smart move”, we would all think years later. Except that “No!!!”. America wasn’t ready for a planet-friendly chip bag yet. Instead of accepting this forward-thinking plan, Americans collectively vetoed the new SunChips bags and demanded the return of the old bags. But why?

SunChips, the loudest snack in the Universe

Well, Americans like to snack. The later in the day the snack is consumed, the tastier the snack is. An ideal snack is eaten at around 10:15PM. This gives you enough time to get most of the food out of your teeth before brushing, but leaves enough so that you feel like it was worth the extra time to floss. But the problem with SunChips, was this newfangled, environmentally conscious bag was the LOUDEST noise heard since Krakatoa exploded. The noise level these chip bags created woke family members and neighbors, thus discouraging late-night snacking.

In my own experiments, I found the decibel volume of the biodegradable SunChips bag difficult to test, but I’ve got some numbers that should put it into perspective. Measuring noise level, with a 1 being “a Pringles can” and 10 being “tape full Fritos bags to the bottoms of your feet and tap dance”, SunChips bags rated a 93.sunchips-bag-was-crazy-loud

The SunChips bags weren’t just painfully loud to the touch, they were extremely sensitive. The slightest change in the pressure of the room and they would unleash stored energy the only way they knew how, volume. If any part of the bag moved even a millimeter in any direction, the bag would scream as if in pain. Reaching your hand into the bag to grab a SunChip was like a game of Operation, “don’t touch the side of the bag, or everyone within earshot loses”.

We have our priorities

So what did we do when faced with the high sound pressure level that the compostable SunChips bag brought? We weighed our options:

  1. Risk hearing loss but save the planet.
  2. Save our hearing but murder the planet.

Well, the choice was made, and the people spoke. Sales dropped more than 11% in the year after releasing the noisy bio-bag. SunChips then weighed their options:

  1. Save the planet but lose customers.
  2. Murder the planet but (hopefully) gain back customers.

So, around 18 months later, Frito-Lay composted their stock of SunChip bags and killed the planet. Thus, we established what is important to us. We don’t give a rip about a planet, we like money and quiet. To SunChips’ credit, they did come back with a quieter compostable bag in 2011.

Do you remember the infamous SunChips bag? Share your favorite memory in the comments.

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