|Food Safety and Inspection
United States Department of Agriculture
Washington, D.C. 20250-3700
The Thermy Campaign
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Many grocery chains are simultaneously launching their Thermy campaigns along with FSIS, and there is no doubt that their campaigns will go over with a bang. Just look at what other grocery stores have done with similar thermometer campaigns. The results speak for themselves. Thermometer sales are soaring! Read the exciting and successful things others have done.
Wegmans jumpstarted thermometer education campaigns in 1998 when they created a bright yellow label for their ground beef packages that advised consumers to cook to 160 °F. This message, combined with their brochures and advertisements, reversed the downward slide of hamburger sales while causing store thermometer sales to rapidly climb. The chain has sold over 100,000 digital instant-read thermometers since their campaign began. Shortly after the initial launch, they added probes for ovens and grills to the product line. By Summer 2000, they will introduce digital fork thermometers.
Giant Food kicked off its hot new campaign, "Don't Put It On the Bun Until It's Done" during January 1999. USDA's Under Secretary for Food Safety, Catherine E. Woteki, and Giant's Consumer Advisor, Odonna Mathews, were featured speakers at the press-packed event. Giant Food now sells disposable temperature indicators, called "T-sticks," and quick-response digital thermometers in all of their meat departments. From January to June 1999, Giant Food reported sales of more than 60,000 digital thermometers and T-sticks. Giant continues to feature product labeling, thermometers, and brochures at their meat counters, and plans on future seasonal thermometer education campaigns.
Just in time for Memorial Day 1999, Big Y kicked off their thermometer promotion, "Color is misleading. Use a thermometer to do the reading!" in 44 grocery stores. Big Y promoted digital thermometers in meat departments, provided cooking demonstrations, and handed out literature to consumers on the importance of using a food thermometer. Since the kickoff, Big Y reports increased interaction between the meat counter associates and customers. Thermometer sales have been excellent and stores are enthusiastically reordering the "Cook to 160 °F" promotion labels.
February 1999 marked the start of the Copps food thermometer campaign. Copps partnered with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture to promote their new "Cook to 160 °F" label. The week long kickoff included in-store demonstrations on how to cook hamburger using a food thermometer. Adding to the festivities was BAC, the Partnership for Food Safety Education's Fight BAC! costumed character. Since the launch, Copps reports that sales of digital and disposable thermometers have been steadily rising. Copps features food safety education information on their Web site: www.copps.com.
Barbecues and fireworks surrounded the Independence Day 1999 launch of the food thermometer campaign, "Cook It Right... Before You Take A Bite." Teaming with Colorado State University Cooperative Extension, the grocery stores gave cooking demonstrations on how to cook hamburgers to a safe temperature. Hundreds of lucky customers reaped the benefits by getting to eat the safe, juicy hamburgers. The stores also set up point-of-purchase displays and handed out food thermometer information and free disposable thermometers. The stores' survey results showed an increase in customer awareness of the importance of using a temperature indicator from 10% to 47%. Customer usage of food thermometers increased from 3% to 14%.
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For Further Information, Contact:
Meat and Poultry Hotline:
FSIS Food Safety Education Staff
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