From Granola Bars to Grills
PROVO, Utah – Nov 09, 2020 – Few people can walk into a store and pick up an item off the shelf that they helped create. Jason Alleger, an MBA alumnus from the BYU Marriott School of Business, can. During his summer 2017 internship with General Mills, Alleger was on the team that researched and developed Nature Valley Wafer Bars for General Mills. Although Alleger has many impressive feats on his résumé, he credits that General Mills internship for being the springboard to his current position as director of consumer insights and strategy with Traeger Grills.
Before Alleger helped design delicious treats, he studied at BYU’s advertising program. Upon graduation in 2011, Alleger began working for Penna Powers, an ad agency in Salt Lake City. After working at the agency for five years, Alleger realized he was ready for a change. “I wanted a new challenge. I realized that many of the jobs I was looking at required an MBA,” he says. “I also wanted to expand my network and surround myself with other people who were as driven and as self-motivated as me.” He applied to BYU Marriott’s MBA program and was accepted; he started the program in August 2016.
After his first year in the MBA program, Alleger moved his family to Minneapolis to complete a prestigious internship with General Mills. “General Mills typically hires from Ivy League programs, so I was honored when they interviewed me,” says Alleger. “They assigned me to work specifically with Nature Valley. They wanted to create a granola bar that was indulgent but also had healthy cues. I worked with the research and development team members to develop concepts.”
After working with the marketing and finance teams, Alleger ended up with more than a dozen different concepts for consumers to try. During taste tests, the consumers selected their favorite versions of the bar, which, after two years of additional work, became a product that consumers can buy today.
The Nature Valley Wafer Bar is not the only product Alleger worked on that can be purchased in stores. Alleger currently works for Traeger Grills, which makes wood pellet grills. Although he had never owned a Traeger before working for the company, he now owns four different Traeger grills. “We had all four grills running last Thanksgiving,” Alleger exclaims. “I use my Traeger grills nearly every day. Some of my favorite things to make on them are brisket, beef jerky, and smoked ice cream.”
While working for Traeger, Alleger has helped beta test new grills before they hit the market. “I get to set up and manage the beta tests, sending out hundreds of grills to consumers across the world,” Alleger says. “We ask them for their feedback and use that information to improve the products.” Alleger has helped with the beta testing of the Traeger Pro, Ironwood, and Timberline grills.
Alleger feels blessed to work for a company that sells a product he is excited about. “Working with a product you are passionate about is so neat,” Alleger says. “Sometimes when I go to Home Depot, I just watch people buy the grill. A few weeks ago, I walked up to a family looking at a Traeger and talked to them about how easy it is to cook for a family on the Traeger, a grill I work with. The experience was deeply fulfilling.”
Media Contact: Chad Little: (801) 422-1512
Writer: Madi Wickham