By Alyson Shontell
It’s already being called “Juicegate”.
On Wednesday, Bloomberg broke the news that the high-end juicer backed by Silicon Valley’s elite venture capitalists wasn’t even needed to squeeze out the juice.
When it was launched a year ago, the $700 machine touted the tons of force it generated to squeeze out every last drop of juice from the fresh fruits and vegetables.
Bloomberg found that hand-squeezing the packets yielded nearly the same result.
Now, Juicero is on the defensive and is arguing that it’s juicer (whose price was previously cut to $400) is needed because “the value of Juicero is more than a glass of cold-pressed juice. Much more,” says its CEO Jeff Dunn.
To Juicero, the value of the company is its connected juice press that can tell you when the juice is about to expire and saves you the two minutes of packet squeezing. Anyone who thinks otherwise can now return their press for a full refund, Dunn says.
When Business Insider’s Alyson Shontell tried the Juicero machine (pre-Juicegate) in April 2016, she found herself saying “Oh my God,” as she put down her first glass of Juicero-pressed juice.
Whether a $400 juicer is worth saving two minutes of hand-squeezing is a question you’ll have to decide, but here’s what it was like to use the Juicero machine when Business Insider first visited last April.
Juicero has three big warehouses in the Bay Area. This is the building where most of the 70 full-time employees work, and it’s also a factory where Juicero parts are made and tested. It’s a pretty crazy operation inside, but I was asked not to take photos of any of the testing facilities.
I walked up one flight of stairs where the employees were stationed to meet Juicero’s founder and CEO, Doug Evans. Along the way, there were some strange contraptions lined up against a wall. It turns out they were Juicero prototypes Doug and his team built before landing on the current model. The oldest to newest go from left to right. (In November 2016, Doug was replaced by its new CEO, Jeff Dunn)
Doug worked on Juicero for three years in “stealth mode” before he publicly launched his juicer in March 2016 with about $100 million in funding from investors. There were 12 prototypes in total.
The Juicero that’s currently on sale stands 16″ tall, making it a somewhat bulky kitchen appliance that will fit on your countertop, but take up a good amount of space.
Here’s Doug opening the Juicero box. When it launched, Juicero cost $700, but it’s already dropped the price to $399. The model is kind of like Tesla, where it launched with a really pricey model then used funds from those sales to figure out a way to create more affordable versions.
The Juicero comes with easy instructions: place it on your countertop, plug it in, and make juice.
Ahhh! The Juicero in all its glory. This isn’t just any juicer. It syncs with your home WiFi and smart phone, and it squeezes small pouches of fruits and vegetables into full glasses of juice without requiring you to do any prep or cleanup. Unlike a Keurig, it doesn’t make you add water. Just stick in a pouch, press a button, and two minutes later your juice is poured.
The Juicero team sells one-serving pouches — which are the size of IV bags — for $5 to $7. Doug decided my first glass of juice should be Sweet Greens.
The app, as well as the bag, tell you exac