PepsiCo launches compostable bag for Off The Eaten Path brand

Dive Brief:

  • PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay division is introducing a compostable bag for its Off The Eaten Path brand, the company said in a statement.
  • The bags, which are available at Whole Foods Market and other select retailers starting this month, are primarily made from non-food, plant-based sources.
  • Frito-Lay said the new packaging will help the company achieve its goal of designing 100% of its packaging to be recyclable, compostable, biodegradable or reusable across its portfolio by 2025. The bags are the latest packaging to be introduced by food and beverage makers to curtail waste.

Dive Insight:

As shoppers place a greater importance on not only the contents of products they consume but also the brand’s impact on the environment, CPGs of all sizes have taken notice.

While promises to use less water, more renewable energy sources or to invest in regenerative agricultural practices are popular, they are often removed from the everyday consumer who can’t see or experience them. A bag provides the individual with a tangible object, illustrating that a food maker is actually following through on its commitment.

The Off The Eaten Path brand has been touted by Frito-Lay as a better-for-you offering that contains veggies like peas, chickpeas or black beans the shopper can actually see. The new packaging takes a similar approach.

A study conducted during the pandemic by Schorr Packaging found 58% of consumers said they were likely or very likely to purchase food products in packaging that clearly states it is reusable or recyclable. In a separate report, Kearney said the number of consumers who take the environment into consideration when buying food has been on the rise, especially during COVID-19.

Frito-Lay said consumers can sign up with recycling company TerraCycle to either mail in the packaging using the provided prepaid shipping label, or locate a local composting drop-off location. While commendable, it remains to be seen how many time-starved consumers will take this extra step. One factor that could attract consumers is that the materials used for these bags creates about 60% lower greenhouse gas emissions than traditional packaging, according to the company.

PepsiCo is no stranger to compostable bags. In 2010, Frito-Lay rebranded Sun Chips by placing them in a new, high-tech package that was said to be 100% compostable. The bags, however, were loud when they were opened, prompting consumer complaints and a drop in sales. The company pulled the bags and later rolled out quieter packaging.

If the Off The Eaten Path bag is a success, PepsiCo could inevitably bring the packaging to some of its higher-profile brands such as Fritos, Doritos and Cheetos. The company also said it would license the technology to other companies at no cost to further its use across the CPG industry.

The new bag is the latest in a series of packaging rolled out during the last year by food and beverage makers that can be reused.

General Mills’ Nature Valley Crunchy granola bars introduced a fully recyclable plastic wrapper last spring, a first for the category. Mars Wrigley has partnered with Danimer Scientific to create biodegradable wrappers for Skittles. The candy company expects the new wrappers to be on shelves in late 2021 or early 2022.

And Danone’s Evian water brand unveiled last week new packaging that allows all types of PET waste, including material taken from things like gym bags or flip flops, to be turned into plastic bottles.