Loud Bags?

Last week Sun Chips, the muilti grain extruded chip from Frito Lay, were on sale. So I bought two bags. I always buy Sun Chips when they are on sale because I like them. I like the taste. I like the fact that they are not fried or over salted. I know they come in several flavors, but I like the plain, ol’ original flavor. These are a nice alternative to potato chips and tortilla chips to go with my sandwich for lunch.

My roommate noticed them as I was unpacking my groceries and commented on the Sun Chips bag, which now proclaims, loudly, that it is compostable. “Does that mean we eat the bag, too,” he asked? Of course he wasn’t serious. But Frito Lay has made a big deal about these bags. They’ve run commercials showing how their bag breaks down in time-lapse photography. They’ve put up signs on their displays announcing the “green-ness” of these new bags.

Personally, I’m not that attentive to packaging. I did notice the bags are different. I noticed that they said they were compostable. And I noticed they didn’t sound like other food packages. Perhaps you’ve noticed, too. What you might not have noticed is that this bag and its noise is becoming an issue.

The Wall Street Journal’s Suzanne Vranica has reported that many people are upset over the sound these bags make. Apparently, they are upset that they can no longer snack quietly, in secret.

It is louder than “the cockpit of my jet,” said J. Scot Heathman, an Air Force pilot, in a video probing the issue that he posted on his blog under the headline “Potato Chip Technology That Destroys Your Hearing.” Mr. Heathman tested the loudness using a RadioShack sound meter. He squeezed the bag and recorded a 95 decibel level. A bag of Tostitos Scoops chips (another Frito-Lay brand, in bags made from plastic) measured 77.

Are you kidding me? This is an issue?

A Facebook group called “SORRY BUT I CAN’T HEAR YOU OVER THIS SUN CHIPS BAG” has attracted 29,949 fans, with many posting outraged comments. It’s “the worst when your stoned at 2am and trying to not wake up the house,” one person said.

Does the term, “Get a life!” mean anything to you?  As a Bachelor, I don’t care how much noise I make when I’m eating, because I’m usually eating alone and there’s no one else around. Also, there’s the fact that people shouldn’t be sneaking snacks. If you have to sneak, maybe you shouldn’t be doing that.

Frito-Lay, a unit of PepsiCo Inc., ditched the old sack earlier this year after about four years of research. Its replacement: a newfangled bag made from plant material. It’s part of a trend among companies trying to boost their green cred to woo customers critical of wasteful or environmentally unfriendly packaging.

Personally, we at The Bachelor’s Kitchen applaud the company for trying to make more environmentally friendly packaging. We don’t care how much noise the bags make. We are, however, a little curious about why these bags make some much noise. Vranica gives us the answer to that as well.

So why is the packaging so loud? The new polymers have a higher “glass transition temperature,” which is when a polymer goes from a harder, glasslike state to a rubber state. Because the transition to rubberiness happens a bit above room temperature, the bag is “kind of crispy and crunchy,” says Mr. Rodgers.

What do you think? Are the bags too loud? Or do you not care. Click on the comments link at the end of the post and tell us.  Meanwhile, choose your snacks carefully.