Tupperware CEO: Our Products Are Just Too Classy For America’s “Walmart Market”

You think you’re doing Tupperware a favor by sloshing your leftover peasant fare into its plastic receptacles? Ha! Far from it. The company’s CEO says the plastic containers are just too classy to really hit it off with American consumers, since it’s a “high-quality product and a brand” and we’re just part of the “Walmart market.” Oh, okay.

Tupperware CEO E.V. Goings was discussing earnings on a call today, reports the Wall Street Journal, and was telling a financial analyst why sales haven’t been slamming in the U.S. recently. It all comes down to this — Americans can’t appreciate the nice things in life.

One of the issues – this is going to be a hill for us to climb in the U.S. — we are a high-quality product and a brand. Why do we do better in Europe than we do in the U.S.? Hey, take a look at the average brand of cab that you get into New York City, I mean they’re filthy. They’re junk. Get in a cab over here. It’s a Mercedes or an Audi.

The U.S.A. is basically a Wal-Mart market. Our top-tier products like the Microsteamer or the Ultra Plus, that are 100-year old products, hard to sell them in the U.S. because that’s a discount market over there….They buy price. Europe buys quality, Japan quality. And our issue is how do we find the right product mix for the U.S. to make it happen there? And I’ve got to tell you, Olivia [the financial analyst], it is challenging.

Forget “the right product mix,” maybe the company should start with trying not to talk down to the people it wants to buy its $29 “microwave-reheatable steamer/colander.” And as an aside, as someone who’s been in plenty of NYC cabs, the newer ones are actually very nice.

As the company succeeds in emerging markets, growing in places like South America and the Asia Pacific, it’s been trying to move beyond simple food receptacles in the U.S. and West with products that help in food preparation. Like a new product, described by Goings as an “incredible microwave method of making omelettes.”

Because nothing says classy like microwaving eggs.

Tupperware CEO: “U.S.A. Is Basically A Wal-Mart Market” [Wall Street Journal]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.