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Frito-Lay’s SunChips brand changing the future of snack food packaging

BY Allison Cerra

PLANO, Texas 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 10.5-oz. size SunChips snack bags will be made with a compostable, plant-based renewable material, polylactic acid. By 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, VP 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.

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.

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 10.5 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.

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 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.

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PepsiCo sues Coca-Cola over new Powerade ion4 ads

BY Allison Cerra

MILWAUKEE PepsiCo Inc. has sued Coca-Cola over its new ad campaign for Powerade.

The Purchase, N.Y.-based company asked the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York on Monday to stop Coca-Cola’s campaign of Powerade. PepsiCo said the ads for Powerade ion4 are false in saying it’s the “complete” sports drink, better than Gatorade because that drink is missing two electrolytes — magnesium and calcium. The company said there was no evidence the new Powerade is better than Gatorade, and that the Coca-Cola-made drink has the extra electrolytes only in trace amounts.

Scott Williamson, a spokesman for Atlanta-based Coca-Cola, said the company has to review the case before it can comment.

Gatorade, which PepsiCo acquired as part of its purchase of Quaker Oats Co. in 2001, is an important one for the company, said John Sicher, editor of the trade publication Beverage Digest.

PepsiCo, with brands like Mountain Dew and Pepsi-Cola, is the second-biggest soft drink maker behind Coca-Cola. But in the sports drink category, Sicher said, Gatorade dominates with a 77.2 % share of the category’s volume and was a big reason PepsiCo bought Quaker.

“Gatorade has driven a lot of PepsiCo’s North American beverage growth for many years,” he said.

Powerade is a distant No. 2 player, with a market share of 21.7 % last year. The sports drink category was worth about $7.6 billion in retail sales in 2008. By comparison, the entire U.S. carbonated soft drinks market was worth than $72.7 billion in retail sales last year.

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Oreo’s Double Stuf Racing League announces first official sponsor

BY Allison Cerra

EAST HANOVER, N.J. The Oreo Double Stuf Racing League announced Monday that AstroTurf, the world’s first synthetic turf system, is now the first official sponsor of this unique league.

The DSRL, whose members include quarterback brothers Peyton and Eli Manning and tennis star sisters Venus and Serena Williams, is now able to place itself with other such popular sports as football, baseball and soccer that also play competitively on AstroTurf.

AstroTurf was designated as the official turf of the DSRL after deep consideration by “league officials.”

“Selecting AstroTurf as the ‘official turf’ for the DSRL makes perfect sense because it’s a high quality product that will make it even more exciting for everyone, from professional athletes to consumer fans, to compete and show off their lick racing skills,” said Stephen Chriss, director of consumer and customer engagement for Kraft Foods.

In fact, the first Oreo DSRL competition to take place on a custom-made DSRL/AstroTurf field will be a special lick racing event in West Palm Beach, Fla. on April 24, where two teams of finalists will compete for the title of fastest Oreo “twister, licker and dunker” and a $10,000 grand prize. The Manning brothers and Williams sisters will be on hand to help “train” the finalists for the competition.

“In the more than 40 year history of AstroTurf, the decision to support the Oreo Double Stuf Racing League is a milestone for the company,” said Rick Horrow, a sports business expert known and CEO of Horrow Sports Ventures. “This sponsorship is a one-of-a kind opportunity to align with another iconic brand. Together this relationship showcases the credentials of both AstroTurf and Oreo in making it possible for families and friends to engage in a bit of fun competition.”

The AstroTurf sponsorship will include co-branded print advertising, inclusion at trade shows, and a co-branded presence on both the astroturfusa.com and dsrl.com Web sites.

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