Juicero was a manufacturer of juicing machines founded by Doug Evans in 2013. The Juicero Press was overpriced at launch and only squeezed juice from branded, pre-packaged food and vegetable sachets. Juicero’s flagship product was rendered obsolete after Bloomberg News reported that juice of similar quality and quantity could be obtained by hand-squeezing. Juicero machines were also needlessly complex, with Evans taking design and engineering cues from Apple. This is a great example of a good idea, killed by bad execution.
|Introduction of Juicero||Juicero was founded in 2013 and gained notoriety for its high-tech juicing system. It introduced a countertop appliance that could press pre-packaged, proprietary juice packs, providing users with fresh juice without the need to manually prepare or squeeze fruits and vegetables. The concept aimed to offer convenience and health-conscious consumers access to nutritious juices.|
|Investor Funding and Hype||Juicero attracted significant investment from venture capitalists, raising hundreds of millions of dollars. The company garnered substantial media attention and was often lauded for its innovative approach to juicing. The hype surrounding Juicero led to high expectations for the product’s success in the market.|
|Challenges and Criticisms||Despite the initial excitement, Juicero faced several challenges. Critics pointed out that the proprietary juice packs could be squeezed by hand, rendering the expensive countertop appliance unnecessary. This revelation raised questions about the product’s value proposition and its high price point. Additionally, the subscription-based model for juice pack delivery faced criticism for its cost and environmental impact.|
|Price Reduction and Shutdown||In response to the criticisms and challenges, Juicero reduced the price of its juicing system and juice packs. However, the changes were not sufficient to overcome the fundamental issues surrounding the product. In September 2017, just four years after its founding, Juicero announced it was shutting down its operations. The decision to close the company marked the end of its ambitious journey in the juicing market.|
|Lessons Learned||Juicero’s rise and fall served as a cautionary tale in the world of startups and product development. It highlighted the importance of delivering genuine value to customers and addressing practical needs. The company’s reliance on technology for a process that could be accomplished manually also emphasized the significance of market research and understanding consumer behaviors and preferences.|
|Legacy and Impact||While Juicero itself did not succeed, its brief existence had an impact on discussions about innovation, product pricing, and the role of technology in daily life. The company’s story continues to be referenced in conversations about the broader landscape of startups, tech-driven consumer products, and the challenges of meeting consumer expectations in a competitive market.|
Juicero was a manufacturer of fruit and vegetable juicing machines. The company was founded by Doug Evans in 2013.
The flagship Juicero Press used single-serve packets of diced fruits and vegetables sold to consumers on a subscription basis. Each Juicero Press also offered Wi-Fi connectivity.
Juicero claimed its machines and smart packaging helped consumers eat more healthily, but the company was embroiled in controversy seemingly from day one.
So what happened to Juicero? Following is a look at the intriguing story of yet another tech start-up collapsing after receiving substantial investor funding.
The Juicero Press
When the Juicero Press was first released in 2016, it was priced at $699. The price was then reduced to $399 early in 2017 after abysmal sales.
Each pre-packaged serving of fruit and vegetable had a QR code that needed to be scanned and verified by the juicer while connected to the internet.
Former CEO Jeff Dunn argued that this prevented produce from being used past its expiration date, but consumers saw the measure as prohibiting them from juicing their own fruit and vegetables.
The Juicero Press was thus expensive to purchase and also to use, with fruit and vegetable packs typically costing between $5-$7.
The Juicero Press suffered further criticism in 2017 after Bloomberg News published a story implying the proprietary produce packs could be squeezed by hand.
Not only could they be squeezed by hand, but the resultant juice was comparable in quality and quantity to juice produced from the $399 machine.
The company jumped to the defense of the Juicero Press, claiming that squeezing by hand created a mess and detracted from the user experience.
Nevertheless, it offered a refund to disgruntled customers and no doubt suffered further reputational damage.
Venture capitalist Ben Einstein disassembled his juicer and noted it was “an incredibly complicated piece of engineering” for a fundamentally simple process.
The internal elements of the juicer were assembled with great attention to detail and a polymer used for white components underwent 8 separate revisions before acceptance.
Raising nearly $120 million before shipping a single product, the Juicero product design team was unconstrained by money or time. They were also under the guidance of Evans, who had worked with Jobs in a previous life and considered him to be a major design inspiration.
By June of 2017, Juicero had terminated 25% of its workforce and was making a 4 million dollar loss each month.
On September 1, 2017, Juicero announced it would be ceasing operations and suspending sales of the Juicero Press after only 16 months on sale.
- Juicero was a manufacturer of juicing machines founded by Doug Evans in 2013. The Juicero Press was overpriced at launch and only squeezed juice from branded, pre-packaged food and vegetable sachets.
- Juicero’s flagship product was rendered obsolete after Bloomberg News reported that juice of similar quality and quantity could be obtained by hand-squeezing.
- Juicero machines were also needlessly complex, with Evans taking design and engineering cues from Apple. Ultimately, the Juicero Press was too expensive and did not address a significant consumer problem. If it had sold in any great quantity, it would also have been hampered by a weak distribution network.
Timeline and Key Highlights
- Concept and Product: Juicero was a manufacturer of juicing machines that aimed to provide consumers with fresh fruit and vegetable juice from branded, pre-packaged sachets. The Juicero Press was the flagship product, equipped with Wi-Fi connectivity and QR code verification for each pack.
- Overpriced and Complex: The Juicero Press was initially priced at $699 and later reduced to $399 due to poor sales. The juicer was unnecessarily complex and over-engineered for a simple juicing process, leading to high manufacturing costs.
- Bloomberg Controversy: Juicero faced criticism and reputational damage after a Bloomberg News report showed that the proprietary packs could be squeezed by hand, producing similar quality and quantity of juice as the machine.
- Design Inspiration from Apple: Founder Doug Evans took design and engineering cues from Apple, but the result was a product that lacked practicality and cost-effectiveness.
- Financial Struggles: Despite raising nearly $120 million in funding, Juicero faced significant financial losses and terminated a quarter of its workforce. The company’s distribution network was weak, further contributing to its challenges.
- Shutdown and Ceasing Operations: After only 16 months on the market, Juicero announced the suspension of sales and ceased operations in September 2017. The product’s high cost, lack of genuine consumer problem-solving, and weak distribution infrastructure led to its downfall.