When the Juicero first came to our notice a year ago, we were skeptical. A US$699 juicer that only juices proprietary fruits and vegetables from a plastic bag, and won’t work without wifi? Who could possibly want that? Well, it gets better.
The Juicero is essentially a Nespresso for juice. It’s launched in its home state of California, but due to supply chain issues connected to its pre-chopped fruit and vegetable subscription service, isn’t available further afield. The start-up which makes it is gearing up for further expansion and has so far attracted around US$120 million from various investors.
Points of difference from regular juicers include wifi connectivity which enables it to refuse to juice fruit and vege bags if they’re even a day past their use-by date, and a sleek design. The price has come down somewhat since it was first launched, though – the Juicero is now US$400 per unit!
This week, Bloomberg released the shocking news that you don’t really need the Juicero machine and its four tons of pressing force at all. Just squeezing the bags of proprietary fruits and vegetables with your bare hands yields an almost identical juice. Apparently this is faster, or as fast, as using the most ludicrously over-engineered juicing technology yet designed.
Juicero has declined to comment, but its chief executive Jeff Dunn has hit back with a Medium post warning people not to do anything rash.
“The sum of the system — the Press, Produce Packs and App — working together is what enables a great experience. However, you won’t experience that value by hand-squeezing Produce Packs, which to be clear, contain nothing but fresh, raw, organic chopped produce, not juice. What you will get with hand-squeezed hacks is a mediocre (and maybe very messy) experience that you won’t want to repeat once, let alone every day.”
Dunn also highlighted how the “first closed loop food safety system” – i.e. that wifi-based killswitch – means Juicero can protect customers in real-time; the machines’ great consistency; and Juicero’s data-enabled tight supply chain.
Our understanding of his message is that the Juicero is about much more than mere convenience. It’s about total convenience, which can only be achieved using the machine.
So, remember – don’t squeeze the bag. You’re better than that. And god forbid you chop your own produce.