Tupperware has become synonymous with food storage systems, but did you know that Tupperware actually refers to a specific brand? This company pioneered effective food storage in the 1940s and brought career opportunities to women through their direct sales model.
Tupperware remains a popular staple in many kitchens. Find out why so many people opt for expensive Tupperware items over cheaper alternatives.
Tupperware is expensive because it sets the standard for leak-proof food storage and has some of the highest quality products on the market. Tupperware can last for years without staining, warping, or breaking down.
Many of their popular products are also easy to store and take up minimal cabinet space. Loyal fans are more than willing to pay top dollar for a long-lasting and easy-to-use kitchen product.
- Tupperware Creates New Way to Store Food
- Why Is Tupperware Different (and Expensive)?
- What Tupperware is Worth the High Cost?
- Saving on Expensive Tupperware Products
- Top 3 Alternatives to Tupperware
- Final Thoughts
Tupperware Creates New Way to Store Food
The Tupperware company began in 1946 but wasn’t an initial success. Their products were well made and created a tight seal to store food, but many consumers weren’t sure how to use them. They didn’t have the brand following and name recognition that they do today.
Tupperware decided to get everyday consumers to use and sell their kitchen products, creating one of the first direct sales models. They empowered women to build their own businesses in a time when career opportunities for women were limited. This also helped build brand awareness that translated to more sales.
Why Is Tupperware Different (and Expensive)?
Tupperware design focused on creating a tight seal to prevent leaks. They led the industry to develop and market these types of products, which made storing and transporting food and liquids much easier. Some of their products have very specific uses, but most are versatile and can be used for mixing, storing, transporting, and even gifting.
Tupperware products use different plastics and some glass, identified by the number and symbol on the bottom of each item. The plastic is noticeably sturdier than cheaper alternatives, one of the reasons why Tupperware tends to last longer.
Even the lids and seals hold up over time. The Tupperware catalog materials guide makes it easy to learn more about the plastic that goes into individual items and the best care instructions.
Purchasing Tupperware Products
Retail stores do not carry Tupperware products and potential buyers must go through an independent sales rep to get new items. The company prints catalogs seasonally, featuring new products and special designs.
The business model provides an opportunity to earn income as a sales rep, but the additional costs of training, monitoring, and printing/distributing catalogs adds to the eventual cost of Tupperware items.
What Tupperware is Worth the High Cost?
The company began with food storage and branched out over the years into other areas of the kitchen. Their stackable, easy-to-store, efficient food storage systems remain the most popular, but other options are gaining attention. Many customers look to Tupperware for the latest in innovation, just like their parents and grandparents did over the years.
Tupperware Food Storage
Tupperware is known for its food storage systems. This innovation put them on the map and in America’s kitchens over 50 years ago. They are expensive but will last for years. Almost all of their food storage products come with a lid, which can keep your food from spoiling or getting stale.
Consumers also love how easy they are to stack and store. Small bowls and bins cost around $20. These are generally 300 – 600 mL. Larger bowls cost closer to $50 and fit 600 mL or more. I need to mention the Modular Mates line for its great performance. These storage bins come in four different square, rectangle, oval, and super oval.
Tupperware recommends different configurations for shallow or deep shelves. Within each shape, there are numerous sizes that range from 770 mL to 8.8 L. The full set costs $339, which is pretty pricey. But they can help you stay organized and save money by buying in bulk. With how long the set will last, you can make up that cost as long as you use them.
Tupperware Serving Dishes
A few of the food storage dishes can be used to serve as well. Tupperware also has a limited product line dedicated to serving and using at the table. These mostly include serving dishes for specific items, such as a butter tray ($9), tortilla keeper ($25), chips and dip set ($45), and salt and pepper shakers ($19).
These are made of the same high-quality materials and will last for years. Because they tend to be used less frequently, you may even find that they last longer than your other Tupperware items. Most of the serving products are made to make serving cleaner and more efficient, as well as allow you to store any leftovers in the same bowl or dish.
Cooking with Tupperware
Most of the metal items from Tupperware fall into their cooking and bakeware section. They have pots, pans, baking dishes, and even some small appliances. The selection is limited but well-made. The introductory Tupperware Daily line costs $100 for a 9.4-inch frying pan, while the more non-stick Chef’s Series 8-inch frying pan costs $180.
This may be a lot to spend, especially when you can find stainless steel, copper, or cast iron pan for less. Tupperware cookware and bakeware perform well but aren’t one of the company’s heavy hitters with consumers.
Tupperware Kitchen Tools
While food storage systems are their hallmark, Tupperware also has a good line of kitchen tools and gadgets. These also tend to be expensive and don’t have much of an edge over similar items which can be purchased for less. A set of measuring cups costs $22 and a simple chopping tool is $49.
These don’t perform much better than budget-friendly alternatives, however. They use the same high-quality plastic and will hold up well over years of use, including dishwasher cycles. But they don’t enjoy the same loyal fanbase as Tupperware’s food storage systems users.
The exception to this is the Tupperware microfiber cleaning cloths. Multiple options and sizes work on everything from dust and general cleaning to electronics and eyewear. Prices range from $15 – $20, but are still cheaper than single-use paper towels when used over time.
Tupperware Kids Products
Tupperware offers a very limited line of food and formula storage items for babies and kids. They work great and will last for years. As a new mom, so many parents recommended the Ideal Lit’L bowls ($20 each) that it seemed like a no-brainer to spend more money on such a useful product.
The formula dispenser ($8 and comes with three pre-measured compartments) is a particularly great design that parents will appreciate. Now as a mom of three, the Tupperware kids items are just as useful and high quality. I know that they would last for years to come…if I could actually find them.
No amount of engineering or design can keep my kids from losing and misplacing things. If losing a $20 snack bowl will get your blood boiling, I recommend looking for a cheaper alternative until your kids are older.
Tupperware Lunchboxes are Budget-Friendly
Not all Tupperware is super pricey. Their lunchbox is still the high quality that Tupperware is known for but without the high price tag. Consumers can choose from multiple designs. Sets of two (one sandwich box and one snack box) cost just $13.50. They fit well in a lunchbox, stack and store together, and look darn cute.
Each uses recycled materials and features a National Park image on the front. If you are looking for a quality lunch storage system, Tupperware is one of the best performing and also offers one of the best values.
Saving on Expensive Tupperware Products
You don’t need to pay top dollar to enjoy Tupperware products. While they aren’t available in very many stores, you can still find deals to save on these kitchen heroes.
Host a Party
If you and your friends love Tupperware, have a Tupperware party to learn about the latest product designs and get access to exclusive products and big-time savings. Simply contact a local representative to set up a party either in-person or virtually.
As the host, you will be rewarded with free products. For example, hosts who meet targets (such as $200 in sales at their hosted event) can earn a full set of storage/mixing bowls with lids. Host gifts are typically valued at around $30.
Buy (or Inherit) Used
Because they are such high quality, Tupperware can last for years or even generations. Chances are your parents or grandparents have a few Tupperware items tucked into the back of their cupboards. You can also find Tupperware at thrift shops and garage sales.
Just be sure to do a bit of research to make sure that they are safe and free of harmful chemicals like BPA. This may not be the case with every item of vintage Tupperware. One of the best things about getting Tupperware this way is the low cost–typically less than $1 when purchased at a garage sale or thrift shop, FREE when passed down.
Top 3 Alternatives to Tupperware
In recent years, many other companies developed their own food storage systems that rival Tupperware’s for less. These are also easy to find at the supermarket and other retail stores, adding to the overall convenience factor.
Most don’t last as long as Tupperware. You will need to consider the cost and frequency of replacing them when deciding between expensive Tupperware and a budget-friendly option.
One of the most easily available food storage containers, Rubbermaid can be found at just about any grocery or big box store. They have a few different lines, ranging from basic and simple plastic containers to fancier-looking storage made of glass.
Their TakeAlong snack containers ($7 for 280 mL size) are similar to Tupperware’s Universal Jar containers ($20 for 325 mL size), but a fraction of the cost. The Brilliance modular pantry storage system from Rubbermaid is $60 for a 10 bin set (plus lids), while the similar Modular Mates from Tupperware costs $339 for a 10 bin set (plus lids).
Rubbermaid is sold at Bed, Bath, & Beyond, known for their great coupons and savings. Taking advantage of a 20% off coupon can bring the costs down even more. These coupons are easy to get by signing up for Bed, Bath, & Beyond’s email list or looking for their circular in the regular mail.
These plastic food storage containers from Ziploc are definitely the cheapest alternative but don’t expect them to last beyond four or five uses. They stain, don’t hold up well in the dishwasher or microwave, and warp pretty easily. They are cheap to purchase ($14 for a 14-piece set similar to Tupperware’s 8-piece FreezerMate Plus set for $94).
But given how many times you will need to replace them, they might not actually result in much savings. Ziploc containers are great for gifting food or other home items since they are cheap and easy to replace. You don’t need to worry about getting a pricey container back from a friend or coworker like you would when loaning out your expensive Tupperware items.
3. Pampered Chef
Another direct sales kitchen storage and tool company, Pampered Chef also brings kitchen items to the consumer through independent consultants. The prices and quality are comparable to Tupperware (a 12-inch non-stick skillets costs $200 compared to Tupperware’s $180).
While not necessarily cheaper than Tupperware, they do have a slightly different focus with their product lines. Pampered Chef has a larger selection of kitchen tools, gadgets, and cookware but isn’t as strong in the food storage department. If you need more help with actual cooking, I recommend looking at Pampered Chef over Tupperware.
Tupperware is expensive, but it also is well made and will last for years. When you factor in how many times you may need to replace worn-out cheaper alternatives, the higher upfront cost for Tupperware may actually be less.
Just make sure that you plan to use your Tupperware. Some of the products are designed for very specific uses (looking at you, tortilla keeper) and unless you will make them a routine item in your kitchen arsenal, the cheaper version will probably do just fine.
Katie is an experienced writer, who wrote for big magazines like The Spruce. She is also a mom of three (Sebastian, Lincoln, and Hannah). In her spare time, she likes to read, day hike, and explore hidden gems around her home in North Carolina. You can connect with Katie on Instagram @katiebwriter or her website, www.katiemelynnbegley.com.