Traeger Pellet Grills finds itself staring down a proposed class action lawsuit wherein a California amateur griller claims the company deceptively and unfairly misrepresents that its wood pellets are comprised of one type of premium wood. In truth, the 25-page lawsuit alleges, Traeger’s wood pellets are made of less-expensive wood and contain flavored oils “to masquerade as more expensive, sought-after grilling woods."
The 25-page complaint begins by explaining that selecting the right type of wood, such as mesquite, hickory, pecan, apple, maple and oak, when barbecuing on a wood pellet grill is essential in order to produce a desired flavor. The case alludes to the significant popularity boom barbecue has seen within the last decade, in particular with regard to the desire for some grillers to ostensibly “take their grilling to the next level” by using wood smoke as a flavoring agent. Traeger is described in the complaint as “a major player in haute grilling” who reportedly sells pellet grills for “several hundred dollars more” than its charcoal and propane counterparts. In addition to pellet grills, the defendant also markets and sells the wood pellets made of compressed hardwood sawdust that fuel its grills, the suit reads.
Stressing that Traeger is “well aware” that the quality of wood used for smoking meats is “of the utmost importance to backyard grillers and champion pitmasters alike,” the lawsuit states that the Salt Lake City company has capitalized on consumers’ obsession with wood choice by offering 14 varieties of barbecue wood pellets. According to the case, while Traeger uniformly represents that its wood pellets are made of one specific type of wood, the opposite is true.
Using the defendant’s hickory BBQ wood pellets as an example, the case alleges the product both does not contain hickory wood and is imbued with a hickory-flavored oil to impart a hickory flavor. According to the lawsuit, the less-expensive wood used by Traeger consequently offers a “weaker, less robust” flavor in cooked foods. It’s these results, the suit alleges, that raised the plaintiff’s suspicions. From the complaint:
“Plaintiff wished to raise his grilling results to the next level with the addition of hardwood flavoring and, in particular, mesquite wood flavoring.
Thus, Plaintiff purchased three bags of Defendant’s Mesquite BBQ Wood Pellets, reasonably believing that the product consisted entirely of mesquite wood.
When Plaintiff used Defendant’s Mesquite BBQ Wood Pellets to grill, he found that his food’s flavor did not reflect actual mesquite wood.
Upon inquiring, Plaintiff discovered that Defendant’s Mesquite BBQ Wood Pellets do not actually contain any mesquite wood.”
The man asserts that he would not have purchased the defendant’s products had he known the wood pellets are not comprised of the types of wood represented by Traeger. The lawsuit looks to represent a nationwide and California-only class of consumers who bought Traeger Pellets from any U.S. retail outlet or online after October 1, 2015.