Over the past decade, it’s common to see office canteens dotted with colourful plastic utensils in various shapes and sizes. From bland, basic colours to a bright orange or a deep maroon, the colours and textures have grown over the years, thanks to an increased consumer interest in high quality plastic cutlery which has replaces the stainless steel “dabba” which was eponymous growing up in the 70s and 80s India – from schools to colleges to offices and even excursions or picnics. But who would have imagined that most offices shut for well over half of FY 20-21, sales of Tupperware would grow, in the first place and that too by an attractive 26%… Impressive, to say the least. And that too for a brand which only believed in multi-level marketing through homemakers, housewives and anyone who wanted to draw an extra income with limited effort in their “part time”.
Recently, the company inaugurated its 100th retail store in Chennai with the Southern zone contributing 35 per cent of the sales, Tupperware India Managing Director Deepak Chhabra said. “We are planning to open about 130 stores this year, he told PTI. “Pandemic has been a silver-lining for us in terms of business because the consumption of these products was higher largely because everybody was at home and without any help from maids, people started cooking from home and every body was conscious about health and safety”, he noted.
“Over the next five years, our plan is to have 1,000 stores across the country and major expansion would be in the South and West.” To a query, he said South and West were majority of revenue generators for the company contributing 35 per cent, each, respectively. The business strategy for the company was 80 per cent through direct selling, 12 per cent contributed through retail stores and eight per cent through online mode. With the aggressive expansion plan, he said the current share of 80 per cent contributed from the direct selling business would come down to 65 per cent while business generated from retail stores would increase to 35 per cent (from the existing 12 per cent) and remaining from online (10 per cent). “In two-three years, about 65 per cent of the business will be from direct selling, 35 per cent from stores, and 10 per cent through online…”, he said.
For a market which is dominated by spurious plastic utensils which is common to see in middle class Indian households, a brand like Tupperware (and many others who have been laucnhed in the past decade) is a real saviour to families and households. The company, which launched a cutting-edge air-tight container which was most suitable for storing food in the refridgerator for a future use was a super hit from day one onwards, due to the mentality of Indian households to carry over left over food and to not waste them. From biriyanis to biscuits, curries to dry curry leaves, refrigerators in Indian households can be seen filled with colourful “plastic dibbas” to the extent that people at home tend to forget what was kept inside and when. With an extended lockdown, WFH and Education From Home (EFH) taxing womenfolk more than over, products like tupperware are indeed a life saviour, whether carrying forward hot cooked food at home or when ordering on food apps like Swiggy or Zomato!