Juicero CEO Jeff Dunn (above) defended his company’s signature product against claims it is unnecessary and expensive
The CEO of a Silicon Valley start-up that was hailed as the ‘Keurig for juice’ is offering refunds after it was learned that its highly touted juice machine may be unnecessary.
Jeff Dunn, the CEO of Juicero, defended his company’s signature product on Thursday after it became apparent that consumers could simply use their hands to squeeze juice out of a bag instead of putting it through the $399 Juicero machine.
The Juicero is a machine that squeezes packets of pre-cut produce to make healthy juices.
The packets range in price from $5 to $8 and can’t be purchased unless customers already own a Juicero machine, which costs $399.
But a recent test by Bloomberg showed that squeezing the packets by hand was nearly just as effective – and actually faster – than using the machine.
Reporters were able to wring out 7.5 ounces of juice from the packets in a minute and a half while the machine squeezed out 8 ounces in two minutes.
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Venture capitalists – including Google’s investing firm – poured more than $120million into the Silicon Valley start-up on the promise of a sleek machine with the pressing power ‘to lift two Teslas’.
Two backers who spoke with Bloomberg said they were disappointed when they finally got to try out the invention, noting that it was bulkier than what they were promised and they were confused that the packets could just as easily be squeezed by hand.
One investor said he would have never even scheduled a meeting with the company if he knew the packets could be squeezed by hand.
The company declined to offer an official comment when contacted by DailyMail.com on Wednesday.
Juicero is a $399 machine that squeezes packets full of pre-cut produce to make juice. But a new report shows that the company’s packets are just as easily squeezed by hand
However, the company doesn’t sell their packets, which range in price from $8 to $8, unless customers already have the machine
Despite the backlash, Dunn insists that the machine offers value that simply can’t be derived by manually squeezing juice out of the bag.
‘The sum of the system — the Press, Produce Packs and App — working together is what enables a great experience,’ the CEO wrote in a Medium post.
‘However, you won’t experience that value by hand-squeezing Produce Packs, which to be clear, contain nothing but fresh, raw, organic chopped produce, not juice.’
‘What you will get with hand-squeezed hacks is a mediocre (and maybe very messy) experience that you won’t want to repeat once, let alone every day.’
As if to prove his point that the machine is essential to the juicing ‘experience,’ Dunn included a video showing what happens when one cuts open and takes out the contents of a juice bag
The video shows what appears to be raw, chopped-up carrots. The person whose hand is seen in the video takes the carrots and grips them in a demonstration of the messy moist
He went on to list reasons that the machine is still preferable to squeezing the juice by hand.
Dunn writes that the machine, which is connected to the Internet, will know if and when there is a product recall, thus warning the consumer of potentially damaged juice.
In addition to squeezing the juice packets, the machine also reads a QR code on the back of the packets that ensures produce hasn’t expired or been recalled.
‘The value of Juicero is more than a glass of cold-pressed juice,’ he writes. ‘Much more.’
As if to prove his point, Dunn included a video showing what happens when one cuts open and takes out the contents of a juice bag.
The video shows what appears to be raw, chopped-up carrots. The person whose hand is seen in the video takes the carrots and grips them in a demonstration of the messy moist.
Dunn says that because the shelf life of the raw fruits and vegetables inside the bags is just a few days old, the machine is necessary to keep consumers abreast of its freshness.
‘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, without having to prep ingredients and clean a juicer,’ he writes.
‘It’s in how the busy professional who needs more greens in her life gets App reminders to press Produce Packs before they expire, so she doesn’t waste the hard-earned money she spent on them.’
The company originally retailed the machine for $699 for private customers and $1,200 for businesses, before Dunn, who was once president of Coca Cola, was brought in to replace founder Doug Evans as CEO.
In January, a few months after taking over as chief executive, Dunn slashed the price of the machine by half.
Juicero is currently only available in 17 states since their packets are perishable and difficult to ship long distances.
Doug Chertok, one of Juicero’s investors, says he figured out on his own that the packets could be squeezed by hand, but says he’s ‘still a huge fan’.
‘Juicero is still figuring out its sweet spot,’ he said. ‘I have no doubt that they’ll be very successful.’
One area that the company has proved successful is in selling to businesses, such as hotels.
Seven businesses that were interviewed by Bloomberg all said that they liked the machine because the packets could be easily discarded and there was practically no cleanup.