George Foreman Grill
|Invented by||Robert Johnson, Michael Boehm|
|Availability||United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia|
|URL||George Foreman US, George Foreman UK|
The George Foreman Lean Mean Fat-Reducing Grilling Machine, commonly known as the George Foreman Grill, is an indoor, electrically-heated grill manufactured by Spectrum Brands. It is promoted by former boxing champion George Foreman. Since its introduction in 1994, over 100 million George Foreman grills have been sold worldwide.
The concept for the grill was created by Michael Boehm of Batavia, IL after he was asked to create a follow-up product to the sandwich maker. The original intention was to create a product that would reduce the fat content of hamburgers by draining away the fat into a separate reservoir. Michael Boehm designed the product with a floating hinge and slanted grilling surface to accommodate foods of different thicknesses and drain fat away from the food. Engineering work was done by Bob Johnson. The Foreman Grill concept was pitched to over nine companies with George Foreman as the proposed spokesperson. Foreman was well known for eating two reduced-fat hamburgers before every fight, which made him a good candidate for a fat-reducing grill. Foreman had also recently experienced regained popularity in 1994 at the age of 45 when he regained the heavyweight world championship. Boehm sent a prototype of the grill and a recipe book to Foreman who tried the grill and loved it. The success of the George Foreman Grill can be attributed to the combination of an innovative product design, Salton's commitment to the manufacturing and distribution of the grill and of course, George Foreman's enthusiasm, charisma and passion for the product.
The Lean Mean Fat-Reducing Grilling Machine as it became known was promoted with distinctive infomercials which featured Foreman. A combination of his affable personality and the unique features of the product made it an instant success. Such was the popularity of these infomercials that Foreman's famous tagline, "It's so good I put my name on it!", is now part of popular culture. In Asia, the grill is endorsed and promoted by both George Foreman and Jackie Chan.
Michael Boehm still has the original concept drawings at his home in Batavia, IL.
The product has a clamshell design which simultaneously heats the top and bottom surfaces of the food, eliminating the need to flip it. Each heating surface is grooved to reduce contact area, and covered in a non-stick coating. The lower heating surface is angled to allow melted fat and other fluids to drain through the grooves into a removable drip tray, which clearly shows the amount removed from the food. This arrangement has been marketed as a way to "knock out the fat", suggesting a more healthy way to cook.
The grill is offered in various sizes for cooking individual or multiple servings. In 2006, the George Foreman "Next Grilleration" Health Grill was launched, which features detachable grilling plates for easier cleaning. It has gone through several other versions, differing in their control interfaces and design.
The worldwide popularity of the George Foreman grill has resulted in sales of over 100 million units since it was first launched, a feat that was achieved in a little over 15 years. Although Foreman has never confirmed exactly how much he has earned from the endorsement, Salton Inc paid him $137 million in 1999 in order to buy out the right to use his name. Previous to that he was being paid about 40% of the profits on each grill sold (earning him $4.5 million a month in payouts at its peak), so it is estimated he has made a total of over $200 million from the endorsement, a sum that is substantially more than he earned as a boxer.
The success of the George Foreman Grill spawned a variety of similar celebrity-endorsed products such as the "Evander Holyfield Real Deal Grill" and the "Carl Lewis Health Grill". In the VH1 Show Hogan Knows Best, Hulk Hogan claimed that he was offered the contract for the grill first, but missed his agent's phone call because he was "picking up the kids", and thus missed out on the endorsement. Instead, he endorsed a Hulk Hogan blender, and later the "Hulk Hogan Ultimate Grill".
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