11 October, 2010

Can't Handle the Green

Much like man landing on the moon or the fall of the Berlin Wall, we will all remember where we were when we learned that Frito-Lay toed the line drawn in the sand by consumers.

Alright maybe not...

But bowing to the combined pressures of the more than 48,000 members of the "Sorry But I Can't Hear You Over This SunChips Bag" Facebook group and a more than 11% drop in sales over the past year, Frito Lay's killed off the 100% biodegradable SunChips bag.

Frito-Lay’s balking on the commitment to bio-degradable bags is truly a shame. And yes, technically they will still keep “Original” flavor in the bio-bags, but they are removing the other five flavors from the rank of eco-friendly.

It was a great idea that just had one problem. Since the bag was biodegradable, it was developed with a different molecular structure than typical bags, which makes them more rigid and prone to be noisy.

So it’s a little on the loud side. Big whoop. How often do you see people walking down the streets with big bags of chips oblivious to the amount of noise pollution they’re causing? I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, but come on.

Through this commercial misstep, Frito-Lay's illustrated a major caveat of consumers and their call for more environmental products: people tend to buy environmentally friendly things if there aren't any perceived negatives attached to it.

This plays into a larger theme for consumers in general.

While consumers may lobby companies to green things up, most of the time, it's their spending habits that ultimately rule.

Consumers may bang the eco-drum, but they have a nasty track record of punishing brands that change what's comfortable and familiar. Ask Tropicana how their ink-saving package redesign went.

So, are consumers really prepared to make the sacrifices necessary to improve the environment - and back it up with their wallets?

R.I.P. SunChips Bag 2009 – 2010 “We barely knew ye. But we certainly heard ye.”

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