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Tupperware Takes Over More Kitchen Duties

August 28, 1994|From Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. — Potato peelers, ice trays and cookbooks may not seem a big deal.

But the venerable company that throws all those Tupperware parties sees a new product line as a major step in a campaign to redefine its image and marketing niche.

The newly designed everyday kitchen tools are the first big departure from the $1.2 billion in plastic bowls and storage canisters that the 50-year-old Florida-based company sells in 56 countries every year.

A new magazine and new cookbooks are also part of the modernized marketing techniques now emerging from company headquarters in Kissimmee, Fla.

"We're pretty much moving in a natural progression from food storage and extending it to the broader area of the kitchen," said Michael P. Hagerty, president of Tupperware North America. "We're also expanding our presence to a larger market."

From the kitchen, Hagerty said, Tupperware will move into closets, children's bedrooms and the average household's biggest storage area of all--the garage.

"It's a huge market, and we'll get there eventually. Making people's lives easier is part of our heritage," Hagerty said.

The line of six newly designed kitchen tools partly resulted from a consumer survey.

The company asked its senior sales consultants what their busy, modern-day homemakers wanted in their kitchens. The major finding from a recent random sample of 500 Tupperware party-goers in California and Florida was that a lack of kitchen organization was their No. 1 problem.

Cluttered refrigerators, dirty dishes, disorderly cupboards, too little counter space, and too much dicing, peeling and chopping were the time-takers most frequently mentioned.

Tupperware has gone into partnership with Hachette Filipacchi Magazines Inc. to produce a slick magazine providing information on how to make life simpler and easier in the kitchen and, not coincidentally, to pitch the new product lines.

About two years ago, it began putting out special cookbooks. The latest is "30 Minute Meals." Other titles include "Luscious Lowfat Cookbook," "Savory Salads" and "Chocolate Lovers Cookbook."

One thing that won't change is the consumer parties that have kept Tupperware near the top of the list of direct-sale marketers. It is not interested in retailing.

"Our big advantage is our direct selling force," Hagerty said. "Many of our products need demonstration."

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