Sun Chips

For my paper 2 I have decided to choose Sun Chips to analysis.  Sun Chips is owned my Frito-Lay and is positioned as one of their healthier chips.  Sun Chips also tries to position itself as sustainable, which is what I would like to focus in on in my paper.  I got this idea from a past classes blog post which talked about a very unexpected situation that occurred with Sun Chips created a new biodegradable bag.  A few years ago, Sun Chips had an R&D team work to develop the first biodegradable chip bag.  They created these bags out of plant based materials so they could decompose in approximately 13 weeks.  In this article there is a advertisement that Sun Chips has that shows how the bags biodegrade. This was the first company to do something like this, and it seemed to be a big deal.  However, when these bags where released there were major complains about them because they were noisier than regular potato chip bags.  Customers had such a problem with this that they created a Facebook group called “Sorry But I Can’t Hear You Over This SunChips Bag” with 49,000 followers, there was a video that went viral that showed that amount of decibels of sound the bag produced, and there was a 11% decrease in sales.  As a result, Sun Chips recalled the bags in 5 out of the 6 flavor of Sun Chips while they worked on making the bags quieter. Eventually they were able to create a quitter bag, but it is still on used on one flavor, while other Frito-Lay brands use their packaging to promote recycling.

I find this issue to be very interesting and I would like to learn more about it.  Plus, I think it would be very interesting to look at this issue from an ethical perspective.  It seems clear to me that Sun Chips was trying to act in an ethical way by trying to help the environment.  No one told them that they had to spend the time, money, and resources on creating these bag, but they wanted to.  Also, they were trying to create a new innovative product that could lead the way in providing another way to be sustainable.  In my eyes, the consumers were acting selfishly.  They were only concerned about themselves and the short term effects instead of long term.  Also, this case reminded me of other situation where we say that companies should try to be ethical.  However, without the support of their consumers, this case shows it is very difficult to succeed in starting change.



Beer, J. (2010). BREAKING DOWN THE SUN CHIPS BAG STORY. Marketing, 115(15), 6. Retrieved from

Sun chips bag to lose its crunch. (2010, Oct 05). Wall Street Journal (Online) Retrieved from

“Sun Chips Leverages Eco-Freindly Packaging to Gain and Edge.” Mintel. N.p., 2010. Web. 6 Nov. 2015. <;.


8 responses to “Sun Chips

  1. Sun Chips received plenty of consumer backlash after unveiling its first biodegradable packaging. There were even reports that measured the decibel output of the bag. I find it amazing (and funny) that buyers were so upset by the noise that it prompted the company to redesign its eco-friendly strategy to focus more on recycling than on compostable packaging. A few years later, I wonder if Sun Chips’ new positioning has helped them recover market share and sales volume.


  2. I can remember vividly when Sun Chips came out with their new biodegradable bags. I remember thinking wow, these are very disruptive and to be honest kind of annoying. This didn’t force me to stop buying Sun Chips but I definitely understood the complaints at the time, and I agree with you, I think it is very selfish of me. Why should I be bothered a little noise? Sun Chips was trying to act in an ethical way by trying to help the environment. I think it reflects badly on the consumers, do we really care more about the convenience of a quiet bag more than helping the environment?


    • What Brittany is describing is an issue. Sun Chips made a move to be more sustainable. Customers were unsatisfied with Sun Chips’ new, more sustainable bag. How will customers react to more serious sustainable efforts, like cars? This may set a dangerous precedent going forward.


    • I think it’s interesting how consumers place different value on their experience of a product and the entire life cycle of a product. We express interest in both, but in general it seems as though we are willing to sacrifice the latter but not the former. For example, we know that Apple products are created under unethical labor conditions and aren’t pleased about that fact, but most of us continue to buy them because of the experience we derive from using them. In Sun Chip’s case, they suffered the effects of the reverse situation. In an attempt to improve the life cycle of the product by making it biodegradable to satisfy their customers’ interests in that respect, they sacrificed the customer experience because manufacturing the bags in this way made them disruptively loud, so they refused to continue buying them. I think this is an interesting caveat to stakeholderism and customer value creation that could be worth exploring in your paper, Courtney.


  3. I think this is a great case to look at. Do you think consumers have become jaded with the plethora of options made available to them on the market? Why else could a noisy chip bag make them so upset?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s