ORLANDO, FLA. — Tupperware Corp. needs to improve relations with material suppliers, manufacturing experts and designers to keep its new-product heart beating, said Rick Goings, chairman and chief executive officer. "If you've got something that's leading-edge, even if it's not proven, let's get together and look at it," Goings told members of the Society of Plastics Engineers in an April 10 speech at Antec in Orlando.
Tupperware sells through 1 million people who demonstrate the products in home parties. That means the Orlando-based housewares maker moves quickly. Goings cited the new FridgeSmart refrigerator produce bins as an example.
"Because we have a million-person sales force, we have launched this product all over the world in less than a year," he said.
Tupperware, which worked with food researchers at the University of Florida, claims FridgeSmart doubles the useful life of produce. Special air vents allow consumers to regulate the amount of carbon dioxide that escapes and the amount of oxygen that goes inside.
"What we learned was carrots, which are under the ground, don't give off much carbon dioxide and they don't need much oxygen. But as you get up to flowering things like broccoli — did you ever have broccoli stored for three or four days, then go smell it? Broccoli can last two weeks in one of these containers," Going said.
Goings outlined other new products. A dial on a line of freezer containers shows how long the food will stay good. An insulated serving dish has become a hit in Latin American regions where refrigeration is unreliable. Muffins in fun shapes pop out of a plastic baking mold, and the mold doesn't get hot.
What do buyers want next?
"Younger consumers today want a lot of pop, a lot of excitement," he said. "So new materials are doing this. New marbleizing and metallic effects. Glow-in-the-dark materials. Materials that change with light and heat."