At the outset of 2020, things weren’t going well for Tupperware Brands Corporation. Sales were down. The company’s share price continued to slide.
“People just don’t have connection with the brand anymore,” Patricia Stitzel, Tupperware’s former CEO, told analysts during an earnings call in October 2019.
But then the pandemic came, forcing people around the globe to work, play, study and, most importantly, eat at home.
In March, U.S. household spend on groceries spiked 36%, according to CPG measurement insights firm NCSolutions. Rates have remained elevated ever since, with another bump in October as Covid-19 cases began to rise again.
“Even with the stay-at-home orders in place throughout the pandemic, many people were eager to maintain as much normalcy in their lives as they could by making plans to cook and buy more CPG products to celebrate holidays like Easter, July Fourth and Thanksgiving,” Linda Dupree, CEO of NCSolutions, said. “It stands to reason that this increase in home cooking leads to more leftovers.”
Indeed, data from ecommerce performance analytics firm Profitero shows that Amazon searches for “food storage containers” spiked in the spring, followed by a smaller uptick this fall.
This shift in consumer behavior has correlated with a reversal in fortune for Tupperware, which reported that sales grew 14% in the third quarter, beating estimates, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. On top of that, the company’s share price has increased more than 300% since the beginning of the year.
“The pandemic has created a new norm with more people living at home and increased consumer concerns regarding food safety and food storage,” Miguel Fernandez, Tupperware’s new chief executive who joined the company in March, told analysts this October on an earnings call. Fernandez’s past experience includes roles at both multi-level marketing companies Avon Products and Herbalife Nutrition.
As such, Tupperware has been focusing on products that help people save time with food prep and money by keeping their food fresher for longer. Recent innovations include the Chop ‘N Prep Chef, a container with three blades operated via a pull string, and FridgeSmart, a container with an adjustable venting system designed to regulate airflow and moisture.
Signs suggest the trend of eating at home isn’t likely to disappear any time soon. A recent survey from global consulting firm Capgemini shows that 41% of people expect to increase spending on groceries and food supplies even after the pandemic subsides, while 32% plan to decrease spending.
But it’s not just a case of lucky timing, as lockdown orders alone aren’t the only factor behind Tupperware’s rebound. Just prior to the outbreak, the company had been busy investing in digital tools and techniques to assist its army of independent representatives who sell Tupperware’s products for commission in nearly 80 countries.
The company is rolling out a program called TuppSocial, which provides resources and training to help its independent sellers become more competitive on social media. In partnership with Amazon Web Services, a pilot program titled vTupp allows sellers to host virtual parties where guests can purchase products directly from the platform during the event, which has proved especially useful in 2020.
Now, the 74-year-old company’s famous Tupperware parties are happening on Facebook and Zoom, which is great for social distancing and people stuck indoors looking for something to do. Neither guests nor hosts have to spend any time or money commuting to someone’s house—and no one is obliged to provide crackers and wine, either.