Is brand-name Tupperware worth it?
May 13, 2020 2:43 PM   Subscribe

An acquaintance recently had a Tupperware party and now I’m fascinated. Is this really better than generic storage containers? Is this a worthy rabbit hole to go down, or should I quit while I’m ahead?

I’ve always liked stuff like those bento lunch containers with all the compartments, so this is right up my alley. But wow, $$$$! Is this stuff really that magical? Like, all my edamame is currently in a dollar store glad ware and it has frost. Can the brand name stuff make it last longer and be more appealing?

Related question, I made a list of the stuff I wanted and it turns out most of it is in the kit that new ‘consultants’ have to buy. I would save like $200 buying it this way and then I get a discount on anything else I buy after. Is this an even worse rabbit hole? FWIW I have no interest in actually selling a Tupperware. I just want the stuff in the kit.
posted by ficbot to Home & Garden (31 answers total)
It's an MLM, and so the best advice is always to steer clear.

Frost is usually a result of the food being too moist or the air not being removed from containers before freezing. You don't generally find Tupperware on "best food storage" lists. But, if you like it for whatever reason, it's not unheard of for someone to become an MLM 'member' just for a discount on the product. Just do the math VERY carefully and be prepared to be bombarded with some unpleasant HARD-sell tactics.
posted by praemunire at 2:48 PM on May 13 [8 favorites]

I can't answer as to whether it will save your edamame from frost, but my cousins and I all fought over Grandma's tupperware after she passed away (in a friendly, loving sort of way). It definitely lasts. We've also inherited brand name tupperware from the other side of the family and it's still going strong.

I'm not sure if they still make like they did back then, but these pieces are certainly a lot more durable, easy to use, and dare I say it.. enjoyable, than the current Glad/Ziploc/dollar store stuff.
posted by valoius at 2:48 PM on May 13 [3 favorites]

Well, it's certainly loads better than the low-end Sterilite (Wal-Mart brand) and disposable stuff like Ziploc. I think it's somewhat better than Rubbermaid, though I don't know if it's enough better to justify the price premium and the whole MLM thing.
posted by wnissen at 3:08 PM on May 13

We were gifted Tupperware and my experience was that it's fine, but no better than the premium-grade Rubbermaid containers. (I have mostly converted to glass since then). Tupperware also stained permanently where Rubbermaid didn't.
posted by Otter_Handler at 3:13 PM on May 13 [9 favorites]

Came to say pretty much what Otter_Handler above did. I don't find it any better quality than my Rubbermaid containers I've had both about 7 years now. And the Rubbermaid don't stain as easily and bleach clean if they do more easily. If it's better, it's not better enough to justify the price.
posted by wwax at 3:18 PM on May 13 [2 favorites]

I vote for quit while you're ahead and buy some Pyrex (glass) snapware instead.
posted by dogwalker3 at 3:22 PM on May 13 [55 favorites]

My sister still has, and uses, some pieces from when my parents visited the US in 1964, for whatever that's worth.

...but her pieces are not used for microwave purposes, which is probably an important detail.
posted by aramaic at 3:22 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]

I still use Tupperware from the 1960s. It is a great product. It also has a lifetime guarantee, so If the lids break, they’ll replace them. I’ve done this a few times, specifically because I have several pieces from the 80s with a lid design they eventually discontinued because it broke a lot. When my Rubbermaid breaks, I just throw it out.
posted by FencingGal at 3:33 PM on May 13

I have some of my mother's pieces she purchased in the 1960s. I still make the same potato salad and use the same Tupperware bowl she used. Tears are coming to my eyes just thinking about it. RIP, mom. I would fight you to the death over them. As to worth it to get involved in a selling scheme, I have no idea.
posted by AugustWest at 3:37 PM on May 13 [7 favorites]

In terms of the MLM aspect, my mom has been a seller (or whatever they call it) in a particular very old-school MLM (not Tupperware) for decades, for exactly the reason you describe - just to get the stuff she wants for herself. I don't think she's ever sold anything to anyone else. At a certain point they did kick her out...but then they must've decided her small amount of purchases were better than nothing so they let her back in.
posted by BlahLaLa at 3:39 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I'm a fan of the glass cylindrical Pyrex bowls with plastic lids - you can put these straight into the microwave and never worry about them melting or staining.
posted by amtho at 3:50 PM on May 13 [15 favorites]

I do think Tupperware is worth the money. I’ve gotten rid of a few pieces of it because I just wasn’t using them, but I’ve never had to throw anything away because it broke or wore out.
posted by lakeroon at 4:04 PM on May 13

Go with glass. Glass is oven-, freezer-, dishwasher- and microwave-safe. Glass lasts forever. Plastics leach chemicals like BPA especially in the microwave. The only downside of glass is weight, for example if there's a chronic hand/wrist injury.

Anchor-Hocking makes very nice glass storage containers with spill-proof lids.
posted by dum spiro spero at 4:05 PM on May 13 [13 favorites]

I really like the Tupperware I have. When I wanted more I checked eBay and found the pieces I wanted were available there for less than the catalog price. Maybe hosts selling their free or discounted pieces? You might check there.
posted by MadMadam at 4:59 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]

posted by oflinkey at 6:05 PM on May 13 [3 favorites]

Rubbermaid commercial containers from a restaurant supply shop is what has lasted the longest for us.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 7:18 PM on May 13

I have a few glass bowls with the snap lids, great for microwaveable leftovers. But most of my leftovers end up in used deli containers. They're not recyclable, but the heavyweight ones last for years, and they're free.
posted by Marky at 7:20 PM on May 13 [3 favorites]

My mum has Tupperware from the 1970s that is still as good as new, even though she uses it all the time. I've never had any storage containers last more than 10 years, but possibly I'm not as good about looking after it as she is. Because of the MLM aspects of it, though, I'd be looking for second hand Tupperware rather than buying new.
posted by lollusc at 7:55 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]

I have to stop myself from snapping up Corningware in blue cornflower. I inherited Mom's, then added some small pieces with lids, then found the local outdoor mall has a Corningware, Corelle & More outlet store. This was a great way to add more plastic and glass lids.
Generic plastic stuff is what I use for no-guilt transportation, sharing with others, and the occasional science experiment in the back of the fridge (toss on garbage day). If I really care, it goes in Corningware.
My husband uses Ziploc freezer bags constantly for fish and game meat, vegetables, etc. Label them with the contents and date, squeeze out the air, store in thin flat layers in open paper sacks in the deep freeze until needed.
posted by TrishaU at 8:34 PM on May 13

You don't want premium tupperware. You want bargain-basement tupperware.

Specifically, "Reddi-tainer" 0.5L and 1L round containers: freezer-safe, microwave safe, actually really seriously doesn't leak, costs something like $0.50 for lid and bottom, interchangeable lids, nests compactly, very likely to come with their first meal already inside if you order from the right shops (around here, Indian takeaway places).

For bigger stuff you can get 2L and 4L commercial food storage containers. The brand name is Cambro. Mine are Choice.
posted by meaty shoe puppet at 9:05 PM on May 13 [2 favorites]

Personally I'd get the ikea tupperware.

It stacks nicely, comes in glass or plastic, and the major winner for me is you can buy the lids and sealant bands separately for when you inevitably lose or crack one. The lids also fit different depth containers.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 10:50 PM on May 13 [3 favorites]

Joining the Tupperware MLM will mean you get LOTS of hassle to sell, sell sell (and recruit). Seriously avoid - MLMs are predatory and designed to suck you in.

I can't speak for 1960/70's tupperware compared to modern day stuff, but I suspect the modern stuff may not be as good based on reviews.

I can totally understand the urge to go for new sets of containers - I did so a few years ago and mostly went with 'kliplock' and 'systema' brands, with some glass bottoms for reheating (link). All have held up very well (when in the office, I've reheated lunch in those glass ones every day for about two years). Even now, working from home, I often reheat my leftovers in the glass boxes. If you wash any lids in the dishwasher, they will eventually warp, but I do it anyway, and none of them are so bad that they are not still fully leakproof after 2 years.

I have also used the IKEA versions and the good thing about them (as mentioned above) is that you can get lots of shapes and sizes and then the lids to fit.

I would avoid tupperware, simply because it's an MLM.
posted by sedimentary_deer at 1:43 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]

Newer Tupperware is not as good as the stuff everyone raves about still using from the 70s, in my opinion. I have some stuff but it's not worth buying.

Definitely don't sign up! My friend did that and ended up with a garage full of demo stuff that she had to buy. She didn't make her money back when she sold it on eBay.

Also the ethics: I really hate how the mlms parasite onto social circles. "Jenny gets a prize if two people also book parties" and eventually it chews through the group and the last person gets not much. Also "oh hey I haven't heard from Karen in ages and she is reaching out... to invite me to buy Norwex stuff." I don't want to support that business model, your mileage may vary.

Also ethics of plastic, but I remember when plastic was awesome because it didn't break as dangerously as glass.

Try eBay.
posted by freethefeet at 2:44 AM on May 14 [2 favorites]

I was gifted one of these Multi-server things as a wedding present over 30 years ago. I use it almost every day to steam veggies in the microwave, despite, apparently, not being microwave safe (maybe that was just 1980s caution). I saw one recently in a thrift store and almost bought it in case mine wore out but then realised that if I've been using it for 30 years and it's not worn out yet, it's not likely to any day soon.
posted by essexjan at 4:05 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]

I bought 3 4-packs of a 2-serving size of glad plastic containers, and 1 4-pack of a 4-serving size. Finding the lid is solved. Container cracks in the freezer, no problem, lid fits the others. Lid gets warped because somebody put it on top of the hot toaster, same. If it gets left behind at a party, whatever, it was cheap. I have a couple big containers for soup. You have to buy them all at once, companies change them slightly pretty often so you'll have mismatches.

I do not have a cupboard that spills out random plastic containers and lids when you open it.

I also buy sneaker socks 6 at a time.
posted by theora55 at 5:34 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]

If you do decide you want some Tupperware, but want to avoid the whole MLM aspect, you can buy direct from their website, no hassle. It is expensive, and then there's shipping on top of that. The only reason to get the stuff is the fact that they have some unique sizes and shapes, and if one of those is that exact thing you need....
posted by Weftage at 6:28 AM on May 14

Ditto on the family has 50 year old tupperware that has never not been in use. And back then in small towns, the MLM Tupperware/Avon/etc. wasn't so sketchy but a good way to get things drop-shipped in bulk, middleman catalog group shopping.

I go for the Rubbermaid glass style, five sizes, two lids, nestable, easy to wash. But still for something like sugar or flour or coffee and the like, I still wouldn't mind having some of granma's Tupperware that's still going strong.
posted by zengargoyle at 6:48 AM on May 14

Regarding warranty, Snapware glass containers also have a lifetime warranty. I've replaced a few lids and glass bowls from them without incident.
posted by homesickness at 10:35 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]

Gladware and the dollar-store stuff are fine when you've had a party and want to send leftovers home with your friends and family. But my grandma sold Tupperware in the '70s and '80s and I have some of those containers sitting in my kitchen right now, still sealing 40-odd years later. Looking at the modern prices for Tupperware on their website, though, and comparing them to this $30 Snapware glass kitchen storage kit from Costco, I can happily recommend going the glass storage route (I've bought two of those kits over the years); it's cheaper than Tupperware and seals much better than Gladware, no frosty veg in my freezer!
posted by Pandora Kouti at 11:01 AM on May 14

I have a thrift store I haunt (in better days) and one thing I always look for is tupperware. I used to have a hard time keeping brown sugar soft until I got a tupperware canister and now it works - and nothing else did before it. But I won't buy it new, it's just too crazy expensive.
posted by lemniskate at 7:28 PM on May 14

I'm not convinced the newer tupperware is as good value as the old stuff. The old 'lifetime' guarantee doesn't apply to newer items, which is very disappointing. Also, you can't just get replacements from your local rep, you have to go to the website, order and pay shipping (we're still waiting...).

That said, if you want to buy stuff without going signing up as a consultant, book a party during one of their special weeks, birthday week being the best one. Invite as many people as you can fit into your place and get some snacks and something nice to drink and enjoy a catch up. Once all this is over of course! Or do it online. The good thing about having your party during a special week is the specials (hah!); the more other people spend, the more 'free' money you'll have. To get the bigger bonus tiers though you will need a couple of people to sign up for parties as well, so maybe prime a friend or two in advance.

Personally I love their water bottles in all the different sizes, and their glass containers. I find that the lids on a lot of the plastic tubs are too tight fitting and I have trouble closing them properly. Love the pressure cooker too and the knife set is nice. I do think a lot of their specialty items are overpriced though.

Oh, buy the whisk! Best ever!

Overall, Tupperware is a bit of a mixed bag for me. But in general I like it.
posted by eloeth-starr at 8:29 PM on May 14

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