A plastic food container with the word Tupperware embossed on it became a “must have” for all kitchens in the 1950’s. Earl Silas Tupper was a dreamer. He was constantly searching for some way to make his mark on history by bettering the world. He invented the product known as Tupperware when he realized that polyethylene plastic could be injected-molded into flexible yet sturdy bell-shaped containers.
Mr. Tupper designed many food storage containers of all shapes and sizes. Initially sales lagged in retail stores, due to the skepticism about plastic. Despite this set back, Earl Tupper continued to press-on with the determination that his convenient and practical product would someday be in every household. As luck would have it, Earl met a middle-aged single mother named Brownie Wise. Ms. Wise started to peddle the Tupperware door-to-door. Door-to-door hucksters were widely distrusted so it hardly seemed that this was the route to mass-market success. Regardless, Ms. Wise was determined. She targeted stay at home mothers and would have them gather for in-home demonstrations, since this was a product that could save you time and money in the kitchen. Sales rocketed and Mr. Tupper pulled his entire product inventory from retail stores and relied solely on in-home parties for sales until 1999.
To this day, Tupperware still relies on in-home parties for a vast majority of its’ sales but its’ approach has changed. Instead of solely targeting stay at home moms they needed to reach out to include everyone with a kitchen and anyone that eats. With that in mind, their approach was going to have to appeal to a vast array of different personalities. Couples with no children, single adults and professionals were all targeted as potential customers. Updates and improvements needed to occur to make the products more viable. Changes to the overall marketing program would also have to take place to focus on this new portion of the market. Associating Tupperware with just mothers and kitchens was no longer acceptable for the company to grow and meet its’ potential.
The products have continued to be time savers in the kitchen, but now it appeals to those who like to entertain. They look nicer, they are offered in a wider variety of designer colors, and they now offer pieces that can be used for serving. Now that they have updated their product, they had to encourage this new group of buyers to have Tupperware parties in the evening, rather than the normal morning or afternoon parties. This was their new “cocktail hour” format for the shows.
The evening parties give women an opportunity to have a “girl’s night out” to socialize and shop after a hard day at the office or home. To further expand this new format, some of the parties have themes, like microwave cooking with Tupperware. Nevertheless, the main theme of their product line has not changed, to help women simplify their lives. While browsing the catalog or watching the demonstration, they are also socializing, having a cocktail and enjoying some free time. In this relaxed atmosphere, inhibitions are lost and sales skyrocket.
Tupperware not only changed some of their products and the way they market the products during a party but they also offer some of their products in stores such as Target. Recently, Tupperware has become available on the Internet, thanks to thousands of personal home pages of Tupperware consultants who provide an on-line catalog of the products and accepts orders through the Internet, or by phone, fax or even old-fashioned U.S. mail. Tupperware has just announced its newest venture as of May 1999 sand that is it is teaming up with the home Shopping Network and will be peddling its wares on several television specials. The industry of shopping from home is one of the fastest growing. This is a wonderful convenient way for people unable to host or attend Tupperware parties due to their busy schedules to shop.
Tupperware consumers are generally targeted as educated with above average disposable income. Young professional families lead their customer base. They are sometimes referred to as the “cocooning generation” because they prefer the ease and convenience of shopping from home, rather than venturing out to the stores to make their purchases. Instead, these are people who are managing their time intelligently by purchasing their product quickly, easily, and in most cases, at best cost. Families would rather spend their time together, whether that is by having more time to attend their son’s baseball games or their daughter’s dance recitals, they now have more time to do that. Tupperware has also gone international, producing products to fit the needs of different cultures. For example; the marsala keeper for India.
Now that Tupperware has a broader appeal to the younger, hipper generation, it will have to continue to be innovative with both their marketing and product development programs. I believe that Tupperware will be successful in expanding its’ product line to meet the demand and desires of this new found market. The products I feel Tupperware will start developing will be items more conducive to entertaining. Drink ware, platters, bar ware, and serving trays are a few of the items that will fall into this category. It will also continue to improve some existing products that are popular with its’ established clientele.
With a company like Tupperware, it is difficult to find areas for improvement. Commercial products designed specifically to meet the needs of the military would be a potential market that has not been explored. If Tupperware could identify a need that has not been filled and develop a solution, the result could be incredibly profitable. Anytime you are dealing with a product as flexible as Tupperware, the options and possibilities as endless.