The stackable stockable durable containers of everyone's youth are the stuff of legend. Born of the brilliant ideas of a Mr. Tupper, everyone knows the ever-so-convenient kitchen staple that was recyclable even before recycling was in.
The easy boxes made it out of the house too, came in our lunch bags, helped in our picnics, went professional when workers had to stay in at lunch break. They expanded to non-food items that needed to be stored in tight spaces. They helped when rodents and insects were making our lives miserable.
But little did we know that the all-American company harbored a definite French influence for a while now. French? Seriously? The country that prides itself on not using doggie bags and avoiding all things not chic?
The original Tupperware Co. was started in 1946 by Earl S. Tupper, from Leominster, Massachusetts. The viral success of the tight-lid plastic containers was widely helped by the door-to-door system of sales, created by his wife Brownie Wise, as well as the famous Tupperware Parties, where ladies would sit for tea, cookies and a bit of home shopping.
The French factory started in 1973 in Joué-lès-Tours, in the province of Indre-et-Loire, in the western-central part of France. Initially created to assure the French production of the Tupperware needs, the company expanded in the 1980s to build more high-tech items, specifically the ones able to resist high temperature ovens and microwaves.
Today, about 72 percent of the production of the French factory is for export, and stands as one of the leader in the group. With 30 prime material imported from all over Europe, Asia, and the US, it is in this very location that the pigments hues are created, to be used in all the 17 other manufacturing locations in the World. This is where color is born. Only one (yes, one) color expert creates the 250 powder colors that everyone will see in their kitchen. The original boxes were all off-white.
50 million boxes are manufactured here, by 440 employees, in the roughly half a million square foot warehouse; outfitted with 42 injection press machines, linked to outside massive silos filled with the tiny plastic bubbles awaiting treatment, the company invests five to six million dollars a year, with gross revenues of around $300 million for the year 2010.
And so, the many colors of Tupperware are French by birth, very chic after all!