Juicero is under pressure after Bloomberg exposed the juice machine's uselessness, but it's standing its ground and insists that one does not simply squeeze juice bags by hand.
For those unfamiliar with the whole debacle, let's go into some detail. Last year, Juicero Inc. was one of the most insanely funded Silicon Valley startups, raising a whopping $120 million from Google's venture capital arm and other backers.
Juicero doesn't make anything utterly groundbreaking or futuristic or incredible: it makes a juice machine that squeezes juice packets. Investors backed the project because they liked the concept of an internet-connected gadget that takes packets of chopped fruits and veggies and turns them into fresh and healthy juice on the spot.
Do You Really Need A Juicero Machine?
Juicero emerged as the Keurig of the pressed juice market, as technology blogs have dubbed it, but is it really worth that spicy $400 price tag? Well, as Bloomberg recently proved, it really isn't.
As it turns out, you don't really need an expensive, internet-connected machine to get the juice out of those packets.
"[A]fter the product hit the market, some investors were surprised to discover a much cheaper alternative: You can squeeze the Juicero bags with your bare hands," Bloomberg reports. "Two backers said the final device was bulkier than what was originally pitched and that they were puzzled to find that customers could achieve similar results without it."
To prove its point, Bloomberg conducted a test comparing the results of a Juicero machine press and a hand squeeze. The test revealed that squeezing the juice bag by hand yields roughly the same amount of juice as the machine press, and in some cases, it can be faster.
Juicero Responds: It's Not Useless
In response, Juicero CEO Jeff Dunn took to Medium to explain that although you can squeeze the packets by hand, you shouldn't. Dunn highlights that "hacking consumer products is nothing new," but Juicero doesn't just press those packets to yield juice. It also scans the QR codes and checks them against a database to ensure the packets are not expired or recalled. It carefully calibrates everything for the perfect blend and leverages connected data to manage its tight supply chain. Plus, it's not as messy as squeezing the packets by hand.
"The value of Juicero is more than a glass of cold-pressed juice. Much more," says Dunn.
As heartfelt as the response seems to be, it's not all that convincing. The arguments are plausible, but not irrefutable. The expiration date is printed on the juice pack, for instance, so users could easily check to see whether the packet is still valid before dipping their hand to squeeze out a glass of juice.
"Juicero is thwarted at every turn by the physicality of objects. You can squeeze the juice, without an app! You can read the expiration date, without a QR code! The world keeps infuriatingly intruding on Juicero's orderly software platform," Bloomberg strikes back.
In conclusion, squeezing a packet of fruits or vegetables by hand might not be as carefully calibrated as the Juicero machine, but it might yield roughly the same result. In light of Bloomberg's reveal, would you still spend $400 on a Juicero? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.