Food Biz

The Saga of the $400 Juicer That Isn’t What It Seems

April 21, 2017

On Wednesday, Ellen Huet and Olivia Zaleski of Bloomberg published a story debunking the myths peddled by a buzzy invention, straight from the fertile plains of Silicon Valley. Juicero Inc.’s particular fiction was that its $400 flagship product, Juicero, could take single-serving packets of powdered fruits and vegetables and strain them into juice through an internet-connected juicer. It is the Keurig of cold-pressed juice machines, an entirely inessential product marketed as essential.

The problem? A few investors began to realize you could squeeze juice from these packets with your bare hands. Huet and Zaleski put these murmurs to the test with a video that speaks for itself:

The story went very viral very quickly, igniting a PR crisis for Juicero, the once-darling of juice startups. The investigation prompted Jeff Dunn, the company’s newly-christened CEO, to pen a letter on Medium to vouch for his product he holds dear to him. It’s quite the letter, replete with appeals to sentiment (“The value is in how easy it is for a frazzled dad to do something good for himself while getting the kids ready for school,” he writes, “without having to prep ingredients and clean a juicer.”). Dunn refers to juicing as "hacking." He also neglects to mention the Bloomberg article by name. (Most in the comments section see through Dunn’s quantum leaps in logic, asking why you'd buy this product when it's possible to make your own juice for much cheaper.)

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Embedded within the Medium post is also a video, below, of a Juicero PR rep slicing open the bag with a pair of scissors and reaching into its contents, which look like microwaved bits of Play Doh. It's meant to deter people from hand-squeezing the juice packets. Never mind the fact that this physical act is far from what the Bloomberg reporters actually did, which was simply apply light pressure to the bag before its contents began dribbling out.

Despite dodging these criticisms and defending the merits of this product rather unconvincingly, Dunn confesses that he's looking at this as a learning opportunity. And he gets at least one thing right: He’s offering full refunds to displeased customers.

If you’ve got a Juicero, ask for your money back. Salute the work of these reporters. Raise a toast to them—a glass of juice, even. Squeeze its ingredients with your hands. It’s easy, and not that expensive.

Do you own a Juicero? Let us know in the comments.

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Mayukh Sen is a James Beard Award-winning food and culture writer in New York. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Bon Appetit, and elsewhere. He won a 2018 James Beard Award in Journalism for his profile of Princess Pamela published on Food52.


Can I. April 21, 2017
You know what else also? Juice is not that good for you. Maybe stop tossing a bunch of fruit in a blender and pretending it's nutritionally complete?
Mayukh S. April 21, 2017
Heh. See also:
Can I. April 21, 2017
Ha! Cold pressed. Eat an apple.
E April 21, 2017
When the news of the juicero came out about a year or two ago, the NYT posted a truly LOL worthy article on April Fool's Day. I totally thought it was a complete joke, until it dawned on me that the NYT never does April Fool's Jokes / there was substantiating evidence.

Whiteantlers April 21, 2017
Mind boggling.
Sam1148 April 21, 2017
Their missing out here. People would buy the packets without the juicer if they sold them at supermarkets.
Sue S. April 21, 2017
Really?! Powdered juice? Why not go and buy a can of frozen juice concentrate - it's cheaper, takes up less space and probably just as good for you. Like, what are in those little packets of goo? It seems that the inventor is trying to leverage a "gimmicky" idea and capitalize on "juice for your health" but the concept falls flat for me. It makes more sense to use a real juicer (even a cheap one) or make smoothies in a blender if you don't have a juicer (like I did for my kid for years). Juice and smoothies can both be frozen - maybe not the best for texture or for the idea of a living food but better than not having it at all. Generally, kids don't care if that's the marketing ploy. My son loved is morning smoothies which he would sip through a straw in the car on the 1/2 hour drive to his daycare/school while he happily munched away on some dry cereal. Great nutrition. More filling than juice and I could slip in a bit of protein without him knowing (usually). Easy prep and clean up compared to a juicer. A hands down winner. I think the blender I used then can now be purchased for about $40 or $50. Yup! I did have to invest some time, granted, to buy the ingredients, prep them and clean up the blender. I also wouldn't let my youngster near the blender so the responsibility of smoothie making was mine. But, hey! Why not? I knew he got a nutritious start to his day - a portable one at that - and I could be proud knowing I made it for him. What kind of juice can be squeezed out of a plastic pouch? Just what makes it so nutritious? I don't know. Call me a skeptic . . . I place nutrition and taste before trendy conveniences.
Panfusine April 21, 2017
Its the Emperor's new clothes all over again.. in a JUICY JUICY avatar!
LouLou April 21, 2017
I had never heard of this machine before, but find it just ridiculous! I have an Omega, and, while I do have to cut up the veggies and fruit and clean it, I wouldn't trade it for the world!