Passion for Packaging Innovation

100% compostable chip package with a caveat

Sun Chips brand, as well as a host of other branded chips, are in the process of switching over to a new biodegradable multi-layered packaging material.

This material has a more attractive matte finish, which helps it stand out at the POP. However, we discovered that when it comes to sensory appeal, the downside may be bigger than the upside.

First Impressions

It is loudly claimed on the package that this is the first 100% compostable chip package. We did not evaluate this claim.

The film is multilayered with a reflective surface inside, which acts as the barrier layer. The material feels rather thin. The outside surface is just a little less reflective than traditionally used materials.


The package opens and closes normally, with no discernible differences in efficiency or effectiveness in respect to our benchmark.

However, it becomes very obvious very quickly that this package is LOUD. We mean loud from an audio sensory perspective, not in some other metaphorical sense. At any phase of the interaction with the package, it is so loud that it is impossible to ignore it. As a background noise, it is downright annoying. You can be assured that this package will never be sold in theaters.

Unfortunately, the environmental and visual appeal advantages are taken away on the sensory appeal front with a vengenance, due to what we’d consider serious usage noise issues.

Oddly, there is even a warning on the package, the first time we have ever seen one, that explains it away as “because it is compostable.” We fail to see the connection between loudness and being compostable, and instead we see this as a fog-and-mirrors tactic to hide the issue behind a sense-of-guilt or feel-good barrier.

Finally, the package material crumples and creases during use in a way that is more akin to printer paper than packaging material, and that makes it progressively less attractive during use. Considering all of these issues, we rate the package as follows:

Efficiency Star
Effectiveness Star
Attractiveness Star


As we have mentioned a number of times in previous articles, in the low involvement product category, packages are invisible beyond POP unless something goes wrong. Packaging manufacturers and brands need to make sure that nothing goes wrong with the package, because in the packaging world, dissatisfiers drive the next purchase decision.

We recommend fixing the loudness issue before broadly deploying this new packaging material.

©2010 All Rights Reserved.