Tupperware wants to make the leap from grandma’s closet to cool kids’ homes

New York
CNN Company

Tupperware wants to be where kids play.

The 76-year-old brand is hoping to capture the attention of Millennials and Gen Zers, and want to be just as important in their daily lives as their grandmothers and mothers.

But to get on their radar, Tupperware needs to present itself in a way that matters to younger shoppers.

That means harkening back to the Mad Men-era image and positioning Tupperware products as worthy, highly usable, and environmentally friendly targets.

That repositioning for Tupperware is already underway.

In early October, Tupperware’s plastic food storage products appeared nationwide on the shelves of Millennial and Gen Z favorite retailers Target ( TGT ), a move that marked a major shift in the company’s history.

Generally, the company has sold its containers through in-house “Tupperware parties” or through its website; except in short, limited pilot programs with retailers HomeGoods, Bed Bath and Beyond and Target itself.

The brand, whose products are distributed in nearly 70 countries and made in the US and abroad, including Mexico, Brazil and Belgium, had sales of $1.6 billion in 2021..

Tupperware Brands CEO Miguel Fernandez said the entry into Target is part of the brand’s reinvention, which includes plans to grow the business through multiple retail channels and get its products in front of younger consumers who haven’t even heard of Tupperware parties.

“Tupperware is part of American culture. It is an iconic and huge brand. We want to make the business as big as the brand,” said Fernandez.

It can be a goal fueled by necessity.

Although Tupperware has become a cultural icon (it’s also in the Smithsonian’s permanent collection) for establishing the food storage category, its decades-long market dominance has been eroded by competition from players in the space that includes other well-known brands. such as Rubbermaid, Glad, Pyrex, Oxo and Ziploc.

In the last quarter, the company had an 18% drop in net sales from a year ago.

He blamed sales erosion on challenges such as lockdowns caused by the pandemic his Key overseas markets such as China have seen its direct sales business significantly hurt and consumer spending has been pushed back by inflation.

Tupperware shares are also under pressure, down 70% year-to-date.

Fernandez wants Tupperware to go beyond containers and claim the full circle of meal preparation in the kitchen – from storing ingredients in its containers to preparing food using Tupperware gadgets and then putting the leftovers back in – what else. Tupperware containers.

To that end, the company, which holds more than 8,500 functional design and utility patents for kitchen and household products, from onion and garlic storage containers to pressure cookers designed to work in the microwave, has been innovating and developing other products for years. rather than containers that might appeal to the next generation of consumers.

Tupperware MicroPro grill.

“One crazy product is our MicroPro Grill,” said Fernandez, who said Tupperware has been sold in the direct sales channel. “Most consumers don’t know about it.”

It allows you to microwave and even grill a cheese sandwich, burgers or steak. “We imagine that for someone who lives in an apartment in New York and you can’t grill outside, but you can use this,” he said.

Another idea is to partner with a refrigerator manufacturer to have a line of refrigerators equipped with Tupperware storage containers inside.

“In two to three years, we want to be in many more categories, from knives, cookware and cookware, to your microwave products, freezers and garage storage solutions. Maybe we want to be in every room of the house,” said Fernandez.

Generation Z, more than Millennials, is a generation focused on sustainability. So how does Tupperware overcome the obvious challenge of selling plastic products to them?

Fernandez said Tupperware recognizes the challenge and is taking steps to make itself a more responsible and environmentally conscious company.

Tupperware carafe for preparing coffee or tea.

Tupperware listed its partnership with TerraCycle’s circular recycling platform Loop as part of the company’s efforts to reduce waste. Tupperware is expanding its container offerings to include more sustainable materials such as glass and stainless steel and is making some products from recycled plastics that would otherwise end up in landfills, he said.

Tupperware containers, in a way, too It can also help reduce food waste.

“About 10% of the meals consumed in the US last year were leftovers,” said Fernandez. “We’d like to think it was a lot of meals that were refrigerated in Tupperware products.”