The noisy biodegradable SunChips bag dies a quiet death

The biodegradable SunChips bag has been pulled from the market because it is not convenient enough for customers. The issue? It is too noisy:

The noise of the bag — due to an unusual molecular structure that makes the bag more rigid — has been compared to everything from lawnmowers to jet engines. There’s even an active Facebook group with more than 44,000 friends that goes by the name of “Sorry But I Can’t Hear You Over This SunChips Bag.”

“Clearly, we’d received consumer feedback that it was noisy,” says Aurora Gonzalez, a Frito-Lay spokeswoman. “We recognized from the beginning that the bag felt, looked and sounded different.”

The bag illustrates the sometimes unexpected bumps that can trip up companies trying to do the right thing environmentally. SunChips sales have declined more than 11% over the past 52 weeks (excluding Wal-Mart, which doesn’t share its data), reports SymphonyIRI Group, the market research specialist.

A little noise doesn’t seem to be a bad price for having a compostable bag. If products have to be convenient to be successfully green, then one might suggest many consumers aren’t terribly serious about being green.

Also, what is with the journalistic trend of using the size of certain Facebook groups to lend weight to certain “movements”? “Even” 44,000 Facebook users are against the product – is the company reacting to this group or other consumer pressure or data?