Canada Picks the Loud Side of SunChips Debate

Frito-Lay Division Sticks With Noisy Biodegradable Bag Pulled From Shelves

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Biodegradable SunChips bags might be too loud for Americans, but in Canada they are saying bring on the noise.

Frito-Lay Canada today announced it is sticking with the special bags, which are made from a plant-based material that is 90% renewable and breaks down in a hot compost pile within 14 weeks.

"We've had a record number of calls and e-mails to our office since we launched in February of this year and despite what you may have heard, SunChips is and always was keeping the bag here in Canada," Tony Matta, VP-marketing for Frito Lay Canada, said in a statement. "We believe that trading off a little noise in order to help shrink our footprint on the planet is worth it."

Frito-Lay's U.S. unit earlier this month pulled the noisy bags for all flavors but original in the face of complaints from customers. Both divisions are owned by PepsiCo.

To the north, Frito-Lay Canada is touting its noisy embrace in a new campaign that includes full-page newspaper ads and a Facebook page (facebook.com/sunchipscanada) that seeks consumer feedback and promises a set of earplugs for snack fans who just can't stand the noise.

The campaign, by Toronto agency Capital C Communications, also includes on-line videos appearing on news and entertainment websites, as well as NHL.com.

One spot features Helmi Ansari, the company's sustainability leader, declaring that "I've always been really proud about how we Canadians care for our environment and with the SunChips compostable bag, we have one other way to produce less waste to make Canada even more beautiful."

Frito Lay U.S. spokesman Chris Kuechenmeister declined to comment on the Candadian move because he said he was not aware of it. But he noted that the U.S. division is working on the "next-generation version of the compostable bag that responds to the consumer feedback that we received." He estimated that the new version could be available early next year.

Canada's move was drawing mostly positive -- and some patriotic -- reviews from customers commenting on the Facebook page Friday afternoon.

"Kudos on keeping the bag!" wrote Adam Padzik. "Our acceptance of environmental initiatives like this should be a characteristic that we as Canadian consumers are proud of."

On the other side of the debate was Lori Nelson, who complained that "it honestly makes me cringe to even touch the bag -- it's so noisy."

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