Tupperware: An ode to cool plasticware

Tupperware has certainly grown up. No longer the naff brown and yellow containers you’d hide your school lunch in, the US brand has expanded its portfolio to include playful colours, pots and steamers.

A multinational direct sales company, Tupperware has more than 3.1 million members worldwide, and according to stock market analysts, consumer buying is on the up.

Rewind to the early 1940s, and American Earl Tupperware invented a durable, flexible, odourless, non-toxic and light weight plastic that he used to create storage containers.

Tupperware area manager and consultant Virgio Visser Gertse has been hosting Tupperware parties for the past eight years, and according to her, the trend is still going strong.

“Most of my clients are women, and some of my agents are even male,” says the Cape Town-based businesswoman. She says a typical customer is someone who wants a space saving solution, and that’s what Tupperware products provide.

“They make sure their kids are sorted with school, the meat is packed for the braai, and they don’t only use it in the kitchen. For instance, if you want to give your bathroom a quick update, use Tupperware containers to give it an instant lift.”

A Tupperware hostess can earn anything between R3000 to R7000 at a party, Visser Gertse adds, noting that a customer is prepared to part with as much as R500 on a product. And these durable plastic containers don’t come cheap either.

108607694 - Tupperware: An ode to cool plasticware

A steamer can cost as much as R1069, while the Chef Series Pot, part of their Chef Series cookware collection, can set you back R2399. Even with the exorbitant prices, she says it doesn’t deter her steady stream of returning clients.

Craig Douglas is the managing director of Dynamic Sales Tupperware in North Riding, Johannesburg.

He says Tupperware sales have been “great” since the brand arrived in SA about 50 years ago.

“On average, a customer will spend R1500,” he said, adding their most expensive product was their Microwave Pressure Cooker which retails for R3000.

Let’s not forget the investment value. If you’re a keen collector, chances are your vintage Tupperware might be worth far more than you think. Ecommerce websites like Etsy and eBay are doing a roaring trade with people listing their vintage gold, from canisters to measuring cups.

And if you want to make sure you’re selling the real deal, look for a two-part number stamped somewhere on the product and that the word “Tupperware” is visible.

108607693 - Tupperware: An ode to cool plasticware

The most popular items in demand are the midcentury “Millionaire” line of pinks, greens and blues, vintage Tupperware seller Stacy Verdick Case told TODAY Food.

One person with a somewhat unusual Tupperware obsession is Janice Johannes. “My whole family is into Tupperware,” said the social media manager.

“My colour is pink, so everything I buy must be that colour.” The mom of two usually buys according to her children’s needs like munch boxes, water bottles and lunch boxes.

“I spent R800 last month, and this month R300. It’s become addictive because everytime I want to add to my collection.”

At the moment, Johannes reckons her coveted collection is worth R5000, but she’s thinking that number will be considerably more in the next few months.

Chatsworth resident Ramoshni Naidoo has quite an impressive collection. Valued between R20000 and R30000, she’s been an agent for five years.

“I even bought my sons sets when they got married,” she says. From water bottles to lunch boxes, she says they come in handy when preparing lunch for work. And being an agent seems to pay dividends, as Naidoo adds it’s her main source of income, along with selling AMC cookware.

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