The high-tech juicer had Silicon Valley investors drooling with delight when they first set eyes on it in 2016, but it turns out you can squeeze juice out of the packs it relied upon using your bare hands in the same time it takes the pack-pressing Juicero to perform that task. And now that it’s been established that you don’t need a $700 machine to do what your own (free) limbs can do, Juicero is shutting down.
While Juicero founder Doug Evans initially declared that the juice press is capable of four tons of force — “enough to lift two Teslas,” he said — reporters from Bloomberg recently managed to extract the juice by squeezing the packs using only their hands.
“Hands did the job quicker, but the device was slightly more thorough,” the report said. “Reporters were able to wring 7.5 ounces of juice in a minute and a half. The machine yielded 8 ounces in about two minutes.”
Juicero’s specially designed juice packs cost between $5 and $8, and you can only purchase them if you have the machine.
Previously, a person “close to the company” told Bloomberg that the machine is mess-free, whereas using your hands might not be. Also, the Juicero machine automatically checks via a barcode on the pack that its contents are still fresh, although a date is also printed on the back if you want to check for yourself.
Juicero later came with a lengthier response to the bare-hands debacle. In a blog post on Medium, Juicero’s new CEO Jeff Dunn made a case for the expensive juicer and why it is still better than not having one.
“Our connected Press itself is critical to delivering a consistent, high quality and food safe product,” Dunn wrote. Citing a closed loop safety system that protects customers in real time (Juicero can remotely disable a Produce Pack if they find any contamination), the machine’s ability to press a pack consistently to deliver “the best combination of taste and nutrition every time,” and the connected nature of the juicer, Dunn noted, “the value of Juicero is more than a glass of cold-pressed juice.”
After the news broke, Juicero attempted to do damage control by extending its Happiness Guarantee, and later, by slashing the price of the Juicero down to $300 (and potentially even $200). But ultimately, it looks as though there will be no price for the Juicero at all.
“It became clear that creating an effective manufacturing and distribution system for a nationwide customer base requires infrastructure that we cannot achieve on our own as a stand-alone business,” the company’s website now reads. “We are confident that to truly have the long-term impact we want to make, we need to focus on finding an acquirer with an existing national fresh food supply chain who can carry forward the Juicero mission.”
Fortune reports that all employees are being given 60 days notice, while customers can request a refund for their machine for up to 90 days.
Update: The Juicero company shuts down.