End of an era: Concerns grow as Tupperware’s future appears uncertain

Apr 12, 2023
Although Tupperware has been popular in recent decades, its future prospects appear grim. Source: Getty Images.

As shares plummet and funds dwindle, the future of Tupperware, a company that has been synonymous with food storage for decades, is anything but certain.

Tupperware has long been a household name, with its recognisable plastic containers gracing many kitchen shelves and cabinets around the world.

Despite its popularity over the last few decades, the company’s outlook appears bleak after it was revealed that Tupperware shares plunged by almost 50 per cent on Monday, April 10, with shares reportedly dropping 90 per cent since 2022.

According to retail analyst and managing director at GlobalData Retail, Neil Saunders there are a number of factors that are contributing to Tupperware’s “precarious position”, including a “sharp decline in the number of sellers, a consumer pullback on home products, and a brand that still does not fully connect with younger consumers”.

“The company used to be a hotbed of innovation with problem-solving kitchen gadgets, but it has really lost its edge,” Saunders said.

Source: Getty Images.

In an attempt to rectify the company’s worrying financial situation, Chief executive officer of Tupperware Brands Miguel Fernandez explained that “Tupperware has embarked on a journey to turn around our operations and today marks a critical step in addressing our capital and liquidity position.”

“The company is doing everything in its power to mitigate the impacts of recent events, and we are taking immediate action to seek additional financing and address our financial position,” Fernandez said.

Tupperware was invented in the late 1940s by Earl Tupper, who was committed to finding a way to keep food fresh for longer periods. Tupper’s breakthrough came in the form of airtight, watertight plastic containers that sealed in freshness like no other product at the time. But despite the superior quality of Tupperware, the product struggled to gain traction in retail stores.

That was until Brownie Wise become involved with the product. Wise recognised the potential of Tupperware and became the driving force behind the brand’s success. She pioneered the concept of home party sales, recruiting housewives to host Tupperware parties in their homes and sell the products to their friends and neighbours. This approach allowed customers to see the value of Tupperware in action and provided an opportunity for social connection and community building.

Under Wise’s leadership, Tupperware became a cultural phenomenon, and she became the first woman to appear on the cover of Business Week. Her innovative sales model, combined with Tupper’s groundbreaking product, revolutionised the direct sales industry and empowered women to become entrepreneurs in their own right.

In the decades since, the brand has expanded its product line to include a range of kitchenware, and its sales approach has shifted to incorporate e-commerce and social media.

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