The $400 Juicer

JTH's picture
Rank: Senior Orangutan | 481

If any of you read Bloomberg or are on finance twitter, you might have seen the story today about the $400 juicer that more or less squeezes a bag of chopped fruits and vegetables into a cup. Essentially, a startup makes the juicer (which you have to buy up front), and then you can buy the single-serve bags of fruits and vegetables. The juicer has a scanner and connects to WiFi to check that the bag hasn't expired. Apparently, this technology merits the hefty price.

The highlight of the story is that Bloomberg made a video of a reporter squeezing one of the bags with her hands while the Juicero (patent pending) squeezed a bag. At the end of two minutes, the $400 juicer squeezed about one ounce more out than the reporter did.

Juicero had received funding from some Menlo Park VC firms as well as Alphabet. Upon recently learning that the machine wasn't needed to squeeze the juice from the bags, some investors were pretty displeased (understandably so).

After the product's introduction last year, at least two Juicero investors were taken aback after finding the packs could be squeezed by hand. They also said the machine was much bigger than what Evans had proposed. One of the investors said they were frustrated with how the company didn't deliver on the original pitch and that their venture firm wouldn't have met with Evans if he were hawking bags of juice that didn't require high-priced hardware. Juicero didn't broadly disclose to investors or employees that packs can be hand squeezed, said four people with knowledge of the matter.

Full disclosure, I'm not on the health food bandwagon primarily because of a cousin that came to Thanksgiving last year with raw butter (which is apparently equal parts spoiled milk, feet, and jock sweat). I realize that the healthy lifestyle trend is growing and has the potential to be profitable, but paying $400 for an automated clamp is insane. I understand shopping at Whole Foods, but not if you'd have to pay a cover charge to get inside the store. If the machine did something more than what a human could, then I could see this being a profitable venture, but it's $400 for a machine that squeezes a bag a little bit better than a reporter can.

The question is obvious; what chance does this actually have of succeeding? A scanner that checks to see if the bag is expired definitely does NOT validate a price like this.

TL;DR this $400 juicer squeezes a bag as well as a human, but is a 'platform'.