In the comfort of one’s home we expect a certain amount of peace and quiet. But my quiet world was shattered the first time my wife opened up a bag of Sun Chips from Frito Lay. I was sitting in the living room, which is about 30′ away from the kitchen, when my wife folded the bag of Sun Chips closed. The sound from the bag was so loud that it felt like someone had stuck an ice pick into my brain. Is the crunching sound emitted by the bag really that loud?
Yes! On the Today Show this morning they took a decibel meter into a New York City subway station and measured the sound level of an approaching train. The train registered 94 decibels on the meter. The reporter than crunched the bag of Sun Chips and it registered 95 decibels.
The WSJ also had an interesting article in which it states that:
Frito-Lay makes a lot of noise marketing its Sun Chips snacks as “green.” They are cooked with steam from solar energy, the message goes.
But its latest effort—making the bags out of biodegradable plant material instead of plastic—is creating a different kind of racket. Chip eaters are griping about the loud crackling sounds the new bag makes. Some have compared it to a “revving motorcycle” and “glass breaking.”
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.
Clifford A. Wood, a 69-year-old in Tempe, Ariz., posted a warning on a Google chat page for people who work in theaters, cautioning: “Please NEVER sell Sun Chips in these bags at your venue.”
I liked that last bit of advice about not selling Sun Chips in a movie theater. It would drive the movie goers nuts. It is bad enough when someone’s cell phone rings.
“The thing is, you feel guilty about complaining since they are doing a good thing for the environment,” says Kathy Frederick, a 44-year-old computing consultant at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA. “But you want to snack quietly and you don’t want everyone in the house to know you are eating chips.”
Realizing there is no escaping the noise, Frito-Lay featured it in some of its marketing. In stores, the company attached signs to shelves that read: “Yes, the bag is loud, that’s what change sounds like.”
Meantime, in the face of the snack-sack attack, Mr. Rodgers is at work trying to de-crunch the bag. “My job as an engineer and scientist is always to constantly improve all our packages,” he said.
So what do you think? Have you bought a bag of Sun Chips with the new earth friendly material? What is your opinion of the noise level?
Share your thoughts and post a comment.