Juicero: Would you pay $700 for a juice machine?

A new $700 juicer is on the market. Its rise is as perplexing as its instructions. 

There’s a new product competing to be the most technologically advanced thing in the kitchen: Juicero.

“I don’t know what that word means. What’s Juicero – define it for me?” a male actor struggles in the company’s launch video.

It’s an understandable question. Juicero is a new company that launched this week and offers a $700 product that allows owners to cold-press nutritious juice on their own time, if they have a wireless WiFi-connection and the proper juice packets.

The product has been called the “Keurig of Home Juicers.” But it's really a combination of a juice cold-press, smartphone app, and organic supply chain. It’s aim is to revolutionize the juice press industry and juice-enthusiasts wishing to be part of the revolution will have to pay for the opportunity.

“It’s the most complicated business that I’ve ever funded,” David Krane, a partner at Google Ventures, told The New York Times. “It’s software. It’s consumer electronics. It’s produce and packaging.”

How it works:

The physical product that sits on owners’ countertops is a sleek-looking, technologically advanced cold-press, built from “aircraft-grade aluminum” to generate “thousands of pounds of force to extract high nutrient and juice levels,” according to the Juicero website.

Owners connect the the juicer to the Internet, so it can automatically update and send a warning when juice packets are close to expiring, set up a juice pack subscription from the smartphone app, and, once the pack arrives, press the juice pack and drink the 8-ounce glass of juice that comes out.

There’s no clean up involved – the juice packs are recyclable and no mess gets on the juicer. The prep work is also taken care by workers in a Los Angeles warehouse who chop and package all the contents into the packs. The fruit arrives from local partner farms, according to Juicero.

The price for the juicer is the initial $699. The packets required to make a glass of juice range from $5-10 each. The packets are available through a Juicero subscription, but not in grocery stores. And the Juicero is only sold in California, so far.

Who’s buying?

Juicero’s marketing focuses around nutrition, taste, and convenience. All of which could appeal to the same 40 percent of Millennials who said cereal was an inconvenient breakfast food due to clean up, in a 2015 Mintel survey. The launch video for the commercial also sells it as an alternative for young couples that are willing to spend money and time in farmers’ markets to make their own juice.

But the juicer has the potential to reach a much larger audience, according to experts.

“Just five years ago, cold-pressed juice was a niche trend, popular only with health fanatics,” IBISWorld, a market research firm, wrote in a recent report on the juice industry. The industry “has hit the mainstream and given rise to hundreds of new juice bars, typically selling juice at higher price points.

Doug Evans, the founder and CEO of Juicero, also isn't alone in his vision of premium cost and quality juice at home. The company has reportedly brought in $120 million from a range of Silicon Valley investors who saw potential. Google Venture, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and Campbell Soup are just a few of the backers, according to The New York Times: 

Many of the tycoons who inhabit Silicon Valley are obsessed with health and longevity while harboring the conviction that technology can improve anything, even one of nature’s most elementary foodstuffs — in this case, juice. And they believe that niche trends, if properly disrupted, can become billion-dollar markets. Juicero is the latest expression of these techno-utopian impulses.

It is also the latest example of an unproven start-up raising enormous sums of money. 

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.