If you recall our blog post from October and the many stories that surfaced about SunChips new compostable chip bag, you will remember all criticism they received. Consumers were annoyed and confused by the loud noise the packaging made. Well that didn’t stop SunChips from moving forward and improving what they started. They are trying to get it right this time by introducing a new version of their previous attempt, that is less noisy.
The problem with the first round of biodegradable packaging was the adhesive. Their was a razor thin layer of adhesive that was used to separate the inside of the bag from the outside logos and additional information. This adhesive created a noise barrier. The barrier led to uncovering decibel levels of the chip packaging. The noisy bag had levels of 80-85 decibels and has now dropped to 70 decibels for the new packaging. You can find the new packaging in stores now and it will be available in the original flavors. They are waiting to hear feedback before they issue the new packaging for the rest of its product line. They hope this new packaging will produce a better outcome, without the outrage that happened before.
Frito-Lay’s introduction of its 100% compostable packaging for SunChips has left consumers annoyed. This new bag was launched in April 2009 and although the new bag is made from biodegradable plant material and breaks down in the environment , the bag is too noisy. The bag has an unusual molecular structure that resulted in consumers comparing the noise levels to lawnmowers and jet engines. A Facebook group called “Sorry but I can’t hear you over this SunChips Bag”, has also contributed to the outcry. Consumer complaints and a decline in sales are the reasons SunChips are returning to its old, nondegradable packing for five of the six flavors. The noisy packaging will remain for its original flavor. This little “crunch” in eco-friendly packaging will not stop Frito-Lay from finding other packaging solutions. They will still continue search in finding sustainable packaging options.
So you want to help the environment by being more eco-friendly and increasing your green efforts, but think that it is too expensive? Many people wonder if they should cut back on green marketing and their green efforts in a struggling economy, but in fact you should do quite the opposite. I read in the September issue of Deliver, a marketing magazine, that it is actually a “hook to getting through them”. They say that green marketing improves your efficiencies, increases customer loyalty, and differentiates your brand.
Take for instance, Wal-Mart’s green efforts. Wal-Mart’s “Earth Month” green marketing efforts included print ads for 10 different green products under $10 and “rollbacks” on environmentally-friendly products. Customers are looking for ways to save money in a tough economy, and Wal-Mart is helping them do that, while still having a positive environmental effect.
Green marketing also increases customer loyalty. Frito-Lay’s SunChips brand gained customers by showing them that green is both good for them and the environment. They started this marketing plan after seeing market research from 2006 that showed that people who care about their personal health also care about the planet. SunChips have 18 grams of whole grain and zero trans fat. Since these chips are healthier than regular potato chips, their campaigns played off this, their nature-related name, and their sustainability investments, which includes producing a compostable bag. They promoted their compostable bags with an online video showing them decompose, as well as print ads that included a tear-off sample for consumers to test it out themselves in their compost piles. Green marketing helped SunChips become one of the fastest-growing snack brands at Frito-Lay.
Green marketing, done correctly, also differentiates your brand from the competition. IBM took a different route by connecting with the community in their green efforts. Their Smarter Planet initiative used direct mail to encourage individuals, businesses, and institutions to change the way they work. They also started a series of jams, or brainstorming sessions, that bring people from around the world together to solve an issue. Their “Congestion Challenge” collects innovative ideas to fight transportation congestion, and the winner receives $50,000, as well as the development and implementation support for the idea.
Pepsico has put its money where its mouth is when it comes to more environmentally-friendly packaging.
They have introduced Aquafina Bottled Water bottles that use 50% less plastic than before. While bottled water is not the most environmentally-friendly option, their new “Eco-Fina” bottle is a step in the right direction by reducing the amount of waste generated from plastic water bottles.
And their Frito-Lay division is launching a new compostable bag for SunChips Multigrain chips that will decompose in weeks in a compost. Frito-Lay is rolling out the launch of the new bag, and they anticipate it being the standard SunChips bag world-wide by Earth Day 2010.