$400 Silicon Valley Juicer Is Unnecessary

Would you buy a $700 high-tech juicer? What if the price dropped to $400? Exactly how important is good fruit juice to you?

Silicon Valley startup Juicero Inc. developed one such juicer, and according to Bloomberg, investors dished out $120 million for the startup. Apparently, they liked the idea of an internet-connected juicer. After all, it pours single servings of juice from fruit packets. It squeezes the packet with "four tons of force," and the resulting juice is nice and … fruit-juicy. The Juicero has been dubbed a "Keurig for juice."

A juicer that costs $400 must have something special about it, right? Something that sets it apart from the rest? According to Juicero, aside from using enough force to "lift two Teslas," it also reads a QR code on the back of the juice packet it's squeezing to check that the packet hasn't been expired or recalled. You can always read the expiration date on the back, but let's just appreciate the feature for what it is.

So, all of this sounds good, right? You buy a $400 juicer and get a weekly subscription of juice packets delivered to your door, and you've got an endless supply of freshly squeezed fruit juice. There's just one little problem: Users are finding that they don't need the expensive machine at all. The packets can simply be squeezed with bare hands. 

In order to test this claim, Bloomberg demonstrated the packet-squeezing in a video that I would imagine was pretty embarrassing for the juicer company. You can see two hands squeezing juice out of a packet, and then you can see the Juicero doing the same with a packet of its own. The two cups of juice are then placed side-by-side for comparison … and what do you know? Both cups of juice look starkly similar.

Although Juicero Inc. has declined to comment, someone close to the company has confirmed that Juicero does know that the packets can be squeezed by hand, but that using the machine is preferable because it's more consistent and not as messy.

Is that consistency and lack of mess worth $400, though? What I'm really wondering is, why does the machine need to use four tons of force? Isn't that a bit overboard for something that can be hand squeezed for the same result? I guess the reason I don't understand is because I'm no juice connoisseur. I'll leave it to the experts.