I forget the year, but I remember the event. We went on holiday to Durban. We stayed with my mother’s sister. My mother’s sister sold Tupperware. Not only did she sell it, but she was managing her own team of salespeople. She won (or earned, as her husband pointed out) a car by having the best team in South Africa. My mother was jealous of that car. My mother also couldn’t believe that selling plastic goods had done all that. By the time we left to go back to Johannesburg my mother was, like her sister, a devoted Tupperware fan, and although she never sold it, my mother hosted or attended Tupperware parties every month.
Tupperware is one of the world’s most recognisable brands, and it celebrates its 50th anniversary “of making life better” in South Africa in May 2014. I went along to the Johannesburg celebration at Miele this week. The anniversary celebration brochure is a treat as it takes us through the sixties when mini skirts, The Beatles, flower power and Tupperware were big, to the seventies where platforms, disco, women’s liberation and Tupperware were the rage, to the eighties when big hair, the Moonwalk, power suits and Tupperware were ubiquitous, to the nineties when scrunchies, the internet, democracy and Tupperware found their place in South African homes and to the noughties when bling, reality tv, the global village and Tupperware became part of our consciousness. Many of the items sold back then are still sold today without significant changes.
The American based company was started just after World War II by Earl Silas Tupper when he developed airtight plastic containers which kept food fresh longer and solved storage problems. Women who had been revered for their work during the war were being sent back into kitchens, but Tupperware offered them an opportunity to start up their own businesses, working from home, in direct marketing, the marketing strategy first implemented by Brownie Wise and which Tupperware still uses today to empower their largely female sales force. In South Africa this development of South African women in the international sales force changes lives, one woman and one family at a time.
Tupperware is synonymous with quality, long lasting plastic containers, but it also has an expanding range of food preparation, cooking and serving products, some of which were introduced to the media guests by celebrity chef Jenny Morris working in the Miele kitchen. All Tupperware products have a lifetime guarantee against chipping, warping, peeling, stress cracking and splitting.
Jenny Morris, well known to DSTV Food Network viewers for her two series shown all over the world, Jenny Morris cooks Morocco and Jenny Morris cooks the Riviera, worked her way through a range of recipes, using items, some of which are not yet ready for public release, bringing us fabulous food to taste and making it all look wonderfully easy to prepare, using things from the Tupperware range. We had steamed vegetables, omelettes prepared in the microwave omelette maker, rice prepared in the microwave rice maker, fillet steak, thin pineapple slices with a spicy chili sauce and other assorted taste sensations.
The members of the media, together with our celebrity guest, Miss South Africa, Roline Strauss, were given marvellous goodie bags containing various items including the CheeSmart container which stores cheese in a container with a one way valve, allowing the cheese to breathe out, but not in, preventing the early formation of mould on cheese. We were also given an item from the UltraPro Ovenware range which has taken the world by storm. It can move from freezer to oven to table and, yes, it is plastic. It holds a chicken perfectly and we were challenged to submit our photographs of our roast chickens in due course. We were given a Quick Shake (and promised an easy recipe for a quick shake apple tart) and a microwave omelette maker (perfect size for one person’s meal), a water bottle with a lid which twists off easily against a lip, making it possible to open the bottle with one hand or easy for people with arthritis and other similar disabilities to open and close. We were also given the new microwave rice maker and I look forward to experimenting with that. Two other welcome items in our goodie bags were a pair of oven gloves from Miele, the host venue, (a useful item for removing containers which were used for cooking from the microwave oven, as well as those which were used in the ordinary oven) and an apron commemorating the Golden Jubileee of Tupperware in South Africa. The reality is that in a few months time I will be able to tell you which of these items has become an important item in my home and which doesn’t justify the space it takes in the cupboard. However, I suspect that there will be more staples than duds amongst this lot.
Rolene Strauss, our current Miss South Africa, was on hand to help out where needed. The lovely Miss South Africa will be given a private cooking class by Jenny Morris when Rolene visits Cape Town, where Jenny Morris lives and works, next week, just one more of the many perks of being South Africa’s most beautiful woman, 2014. I was also pleased to see that Rolene eats sensibly and doesn’t just nibble on a lettuce leaf. She is a fine example to the many young girls, like those participating in Cell C’s “Take a Girl Child To Work” Day, she gets to meet while she is our reigning beauty queen.
To Tupperware, to Miele, to Jenny Morris … I raise a glass of bubbly and toast a great day, a great event and a great product. To Tupperware. Thank you all so much.
For the publicity value, this is Tupperware’s South African contact details: www.tupperware.co.za or call 0800 600 891