Case Studies

Browse proven green business case studies from Canada by industry sector.

ShareGreen is open to everyone. Feel free to make comments on the case studies or submit one of your own. Submit a case study

[email protected]

    Sustainability Commitment Update: Frito Lay Canada

One Year Update

January 2010 Update

In October 2010, Frito-Lay US announced that it would retain the compostable packaging for large-sized bags of Original flavour SunChips, and move back to the non-compostable packaging for the balance of the portfolio.  At the same time, Frito Lay Canada announced that it would continue to use the compostable bags for its large-sized packages of SunChips (representing approximately 70% of the SunChips business).

Initial media coverage in Canada was inaccurate and Frito Lay Canada acted quickly to address the misinformation.  The company launched a national campaign, comprised of print advertisements and viral videos, to inform Canadians about the compostable bag and that it would be staying in Canada.

This campaign was highly successful and generated massive earned media coverage and social media chatter.  Frito Lay Canada also saw positive sales gains as a result.

Click on the link below to view the English viral video, featuring Frito Lay Canada’s Sustainability Leader – Helmi Ansari:

Six Month Update


Packaging is the most visible interaction that consumers have with packaged goods brands.  As Canada’s largest snack food manufacturer, Frito Lay Canada sells millions of bags of product each year.  These bags are recyclable but facilities to recycle them do not currently exist in Canada, so most often the bags are placed in the trash and end up in landfills.  Frito Lay Canada is continuously working to find solutions to make its packaging more environmentally sustainable.


Frito Lay Canada (FLC) is on a journey to reduce its environmental impact. The company is committed to environmental sustainability and to the projects that will have long term benefits for Canadians and the environment.  Over the last ten years, FLC has rolled out a number of highly successful production and manufacturing initiatives which are not visible to the public, but that have had a significant impact on the environment.

FLC recognized that it would need to find more sustainable packaging solutions in order to continue to reduce its environmental impact and share its journey with consumers.  After four years of research and testing, in March 2010 Frito Lay Canada launched the world’s first 100% compostable chip bag of its kind across North America from the SUNCHIPS brand.

Instead of using non-renewable materials to make its SUNCHIPS packaging, FLC is now producing SUNCHIPS multigrain chips in bags made from more than 90% renewable, plant-based PLA materials.  The Frito-Lay North America Research and Development team identified PLA as a suitable packaging material that met the company’s quality and performance expectations.  PLA stands for polylactic acid, a versatile and compostable polymer.

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, as well as a seal to shut the bag, and the middle layer that joins the outer and inner layers together.

From 2008 to 2009, Frito Lay ran a successful limited US test pilot using PLA on the outer layer of the package but still had to develop two key technologies to make the middle and inner layers compostable while still meeting the company’s high performance expectations (maintaining the quality and integrity of the product).  The launch of the compostable packaging marks the company’s success in using PLA on all three layers.

The new SUNCHIPS 100% compostable packaging will completely break down into compost in a hot, active home or industrial compost pile in approximately 14 weeks.  The new SUNCHIPS bag will also break down in several municipal green bin programs but it depends on the municipality and its program as to whether or not they will accept the bag.  FLC partnered with the Compost Council of Canada to educate Canadian municipalities about the 100% compostable chip bag and how it can fit into municipal green bin programs.  As well the SUNCHIPS website ( directs consumers to the Compost Council of Canada’s website where they can learn about industrial and home composting.


By August 2010 the new compostable packaging rolled out across the entire SUNCHIPS take-home portfolio (225 gram and 425 gram bags) in Canada.  This represents approximately 17 million bags annually.  Due to limited packaging availability, the compostable packaging rollout began with the SUNCHIPS brand only.  Frito Lay Canada is committed to exploring sustainable packaging options for its other brands.

As its current packaging cannot be recycled in Canada, the company is celebrating the 100% compostable bag as a revolutionary breakthrough because it allows FLC’s packaging to have a different lifecycle than existing technology allows.

Canadian consumers, government and environmental stakeholders have responded very positively to the new 100% compostable packaging.  The environmental impact of this new packaging has yet to be measured as the full rollout has only just been completed.

Frito Lay Canada has seen positive sales results for SUNCHIPS multigrain chips since the compostable packaging launch and hopes that its efforts will inspire other Canadian manufacturers to consider sustainable packaging in the future.

Website Links: