Frito-Lay`s SunChips Brand Changing the Future of Snack Food Packaging

Thu Apr 16, 2009 6:00am EDT

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

PepsiCo Division Revolutionizing Packaging Starting with Plant-Based Renewable
Materials for Outer Layer
PLANO, Texas--(Business Wire)--
SunChips, Frito-Lay`s popular line of multigrain snacks, announced today that in
2010 it will introduce the first fully compostable snack chip bag made from
plant-based materials. The change is designed to significantly improve the
environmental impact of its packaging. 

This month, the SunChips brand is taking the first step towards this
transformational packaging. The outer layer of packaging on 10 ½ oz size
SunChips snack bags will be made with a compostable, plant-based renewable
material, polylactic acid (PLA). By Earth Day 2010, PepsiCo's Frito-Lay North
America division plans to rollout a package for its SunChips snacks where all
layers are made from PLA material so the package is 100% compostable. 

"We know environmentally-friendly packaging is a priority for our SunChips
consumer," said Gannon Jones, vice president, marketing, Frito-Lay North
America. "Today`s launch of packaging made with 1/3 renewable materials is an
important first step towards having a fully compostable chip bag in market by
Earth Day 2010." 

Current snack food packaging has three layers: a printed outer layer with
packaging visuals/graphics, an inner layer, which serves as a barrier to
maintain the quality and integrity of the product, and a middle layer that joins
the other two layers. When the packaging is 100% compostable, it will fully
decompose in about 14 weeks when placed in a hot, active compost pile or bin.
NatureWorks LLC is providing the PLA, which is trademarked under the Ingeo name.

"Packaging is clearly the most visible interaction consumers have with
Frito-Lay`s brands," said Jay Gehring, vice president, packaging R&D, Frito-Lay
North America. "To make packaging that would interact differently in the
environment we had to change the composition of packaging and invent key
technologies. Using plant-based renewable materials, we have a promising
solution that will transform packaging and significantly impact the billions of
snack food bags produced annually." 

Once the 100% compostable bag is introduced, the company anticipates the switch
will lead to reduced greenhouse gas emissions in the production of the packaging
and the elimination of petroleum-based packaging material. 

Over the past few years, Frito-Lay`s packaging initiatives have made some
significant strides. This includes reducing the amount of plastic in packaging
by 10% over the last five years, and thereby eliminating 12 million pounds of
materials annually used to make the snack bags. In addition, Frito-Lay will be
the first snack food company to fund the collection and upcycling of its used
packaging through a program in conjunction with TerraCycle. 

To inform consumers about the new packaging initiatives, the brand will be
communicating through traditional marketing efforts, including print, TV and
digital advertising. As part of the current packaging change, the front panel of
the current 10 ½ oz size SunChips package features a callout, "Renewable
materials make up 33% of this bag." To communicate the next improvement, the
digital strategy includes a video showing how the bag decomposes over 14 weeks.
Also, samples of the 100% compostable material will be distributed at major
retailers across the country and as part of a special People magazine ad. 

The launch of PLA packaging is yet another small step in the SunChips brand`s
sustainability journey. On Earth Day 2008, the SunChips brand celebrated a major
milestone by inaugurating a solar concentrator field at Frito-Lay`s Modesto,
California facility. There, the power of the sun is harnessed to help in the
production of SunChips snacks. The Modesto plant is one of seven Frito-Lay
plants across the country that makes SunChips snacks. 

In 2008, the city of Greensburg, Kansas was tragically struck by a devastating
tornado that destroyed nearly all of the community. When the city decided to
rebuild as an eco-friendly town, SunChips stepped up to help rebuild the
community. The SunChips brand sponsored the SunChips Business Incubator, which
will house 10 local businesses and provide the economic infrastructure to
support the return of Greensburg residents. SunChips donate $1 million to help
build the business incubator and has raised funds to re-plant trees in

SunChips multigrain snacks, originally introduced in 1991, contain a full
serving of whole grains, 0 grams of trans fats, and are made with sunflower oil.
SunChips snacks, available in Original, Harvest Cheddar, French Onion, Garden
Salsa and Peppercorn Ranch flavors, provide 18 grams of whole grains per one
ounce serving from a blend of corn, oats and wheat. 

The packaging campaign is being launched with the support of multiple partners:
Juniper Park (advertising), Hornall Anderson (packaging), OMD (media buying),
The Marketing Arm (in-store), Ketchum (public relations) and the Zocalo Group
(word of mouth). 

This packaging innovation is in line with the commitment by PepsiCo, Frito-Lay`s
parent, to reduce the company's impact on the environment through water, energy
and packaging initiatives. 

Frito-Lay North America is the $11 billion convenient foods business unit of
PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP), which is headquartered in Purchase, NY. In addition to
Frito-Lay, PepsiCo business units include Pepsi-Cola, Quaker Foods, Gatorade and
Tropicana. Learn more about Frito-Lay at the corporate Web site,, and the Snack Chat blog, 

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available:

Frito-Lay North America
Aurora Gonzalez, 972-334-3821 

Copyright Business Wire 2009