How Tupperware Entered Every Indian Household

The American company, which is very close to announcing bankruptcy, is still a memorable name in Indian households. Here's how it happened!

Local Samosa
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From blue to red to yellow to green, one of the most evident things that could easily be found in middle-class and even some upper-middle-class Indian households was Tupperware. No one knows how it became an essential part of our kitchens, but visiting any kitchen would reveal its presence, with the majority of items stored in these boxes. Here, we unveil the background story behind the presence of Tupperware in our homes!

Tupperware, an American brand, entered the Indian market in November 1996 and commenced operations in New Delhi. Within the first 12 months, it had appointed 15 distributors. The brand conducted training programs in Delhi and Mumbai, directly recruiting and training candidates. Pradeep Mathur served as the Managing Director of Tupperware in India.

Foraying into Indian Homes



According to reports, Earl Tupper began his journey in 1946, utilizing his skills and innovation to establish a brand focused on practical and durable products. The founder's popular quote, 'The fruits of life fall into the hands of those who climb the tree and pick them,' aptly describes his dedication to his work and his brand, Tupperware.

On the other hand, Brownie Wise, an American salesperson, is also credited as a pioneer of the entire Tupperware revolution. Reportedly, she recognized the importance of product demonstrations and introduced the 'Party Plan System,' a marketing method that includes ways of marketing products by hosting what is presented as a social event at which products will be offered for sale. It is reported that this marketing technique played a significant role in establishing Tupperware as a prominent homeware brand.


A Tupperware outlet in Borivali, MumbaiSource

The brand entered the Indian market with its Fridge Range which included Jugs, Tumbler, Cool N Fresh, and Bowled Over. Post the training sessions, the brand had a sales force of 30 to 40 women and an employee force of 10 to 15 people. Gradually, Indian households could be seen getting attracted enough by the products to get those homes for the daily essentials. 

The brand launched the Aquasafe bottles in 2009 which is also considered to be important in creating a nationwide sensation. The new manufacturing unit of Tupperware India opened in Dehradun in 2010 while two years later, the brand refurbished the head office in Gurgaon. Eyeing the potential in the Indian market, the brand also launched its gifting range and Kitchen Expert Set for Kitchen makeovers between 2014-2015.


The decade of the 1960s saw Tupperware in parties and get-togethers. Source

By this time, the brand had already established itself in the market and enjoyed a good consumer base in India, owing to various reasons. Tupperware products offered several appealing properties, such as lightweight and non-breakable plastic containers, with the addition of a 'burping seal', a seal that allows air to leave the wound covered by the seal that distinguished them.

Moreover, their 'Wonder Bowl' was designed with an airtight closure, making it much lighter and stronger than traditional glass and pottery. Even the 'Bell Tumbler' boasted lightness and durability, unlike traditional food containers.

It was the practical utility and usefulness of Tupperware products that proved to be groundbreaking in society's perception of crockery in general. From households, the brand also became a fixture at parties and gatherings. Gradually, the brand shifted its market dynamics and adopted a harmonized multi-channel approach: Direct Selling, Exclusive Brand Stores, Webstore, and E-Commerce.

According to statistics from the Economic Times, the brand's expansion also fueled the growth of the overall kitchenware market, which saw an increase from 6.7 billion rupees in 2003 to over 12 billion rupees in 2008, representing a 12 percent annual rise.

The Downfall


The brand, despite being a household name, started facing financial troubles globally. Their sales declined and a report by Statista stated that the brands's 2022 sales figures were 50% lower than those from 2013. One of the most important factors leading to the downfall is attributed to the rise in the number of glass containers as consumers' preferences have inclined towards eco-friendly approaches. 

Along with this, the increased cost of the raw materials for Tupperware also added to the factors. Although the brand recorded high sales during the pandemic as people were cooking at home and needed to store the leftovers, it was all for a shorter duration. Last year, there were reports of the company filing bankruptcy.

Even the company's recent innovations, including virtual Tupperware parties partnering with NASA and collaborations with online stores, have made it difficult for the company to achieve good sales numbers, according to experts.

However, the brand that has found its way into almost every home in India is unlikely to be forgotten in the times to come.

With inputs from BBC, Economic Times, Chowhund, Tupperware, The Hindu and Startup Stories.


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