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Tupperware Flips Lid Over News Leak on Secret Product

August 16, 1990|From Associated Press

PEORIA, Ill. — The lid has popped off Tupperware's secret new product for 1990, and the plastic kitchenware giant is steamed.

The Peoria Journal Star reported Wednesday that Tupperware's "revolutionary new product line" is a group of stackable microwave dishes that can be used simultaneously in the oven.

"The paper really did a number on us," said Alan Luce, Tupperware vice president for administration. "This was a major product breakthrough for us. It was not like a new tumbler or color. This was a major secret."

The new line was to have been unveiled nationally Aug. 27. But the newspaper on Tuesday got a reporter inside a closed session of a Tupperware convention when the product was introduced to a jubilant crowd of dealers and sales managers.

Luce said the story "ruined the fun, surprise and excitement" for conventioneers attending sessions later this week in Peoria, Orlando, Fla., and Long Beach.

"We've got 110,000 independent Tupperware dealers in the United States. We prefer that they know about our new products before the general public knows," said Lawrie Pitcher Platt, spokeswoman at Tupperware headquarters in Orlando.

Peoria Mayor Jim Maloof said his secretary received several calls from upset Tupperware officials. He said he called the newspaper to ask if the story could be pulled from its evening editions. The paper refused.

"I don't understand what's the big deal. They had news, and we went and got it," said Jack Brimeyer, assistant managing editor. "We didn't treat them any differently than any other business or news story."

The mayor also said he had heard Tupperware had threatened to cancel its three-year contract to hold conventions in Peoria.

The new line is called Tupperwave. It's a nine-piece selection of casserole-type dishes and accessories that can be stacked three-high in a microwave to allow for the simultaneous cooking of entrees, side dishes and desserts.

In unveiling the product Tuesday to Tupperware representatives from 17 Midwest states, Vice President Larry Camberon said: "There's not a company in the world that has stack cooking in a microwave. Those people at Rubber Maid don't know anything about it."

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