Juicero Feeling the PR Crisis Squeeze

Juicero Feeling the PR Crisis Squeeze

We live in a time when combining technology with health can be a great seller, both in the market and on the market. Foods and tech together can draw people in, and when you combine the tech, the healthy food, and an ongoing need to purchase that healthy food package, then you should be firing on all cylinders. But wait …
Juicero released their machine last year, initially charging $700 to individual and later dropping the price to $400. Businesses pay more for the machine that squeezes juice out of packets of fresh fruits and veggies. Much like a Keurig hot drink machine, you put the packets into the machine, and it squeezes the produce into juice that dispenses into your waiting glass.

The Juicero machine is also internet-connected with a scanner that reads a label on the food packets. As the label is read, the machine connects with the internet to make sure the product is still fresh and that there haven’t been recalls or other problems. Then according to the company it applies as much as four tons of pressure to the packet, pulverizing the fruits and veggies into juice giving about 8 oz of juice per package at the cost of between $5-8 per package.

So what could be the problem … it seems that in many tests by investor owners of the machine, they found that hand squeezing the packets worked just about the same as using the $400 machine. Venture capitalists, including Google’s parent company, invested $120 million in the idea dubbed in techie media as “Keurig for juice.”

In response to the claims, Jeff Dunn, Juicero’s CEO, said: “The sum of the system — the Press, Produce Packs and App — working together is what enables a great experience. 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.”
Later in his statement, Dunn offered a full money-back guarantee saying: “While it is never easy to face some of this week’s headlines and critiques, we’re still learning, listening, and improving, and we confidently stand behind our promise to help people on their journey to health. So, for the next 30 days, we’ve decided to extend our Happiness Guarantee to any Juicero customer — new or old — who feels that we aren’t making it easier, more enjoyable and delicious to form a healthy habit. That means that if you send us your Press, we’ll refund the money you paid for it. Period.”

It should be noted that unless you own the machine, you cannot currently buy the fresh fruit and veggie packages. Though many who have the machine think it would be a wonderful thing to offer them to everyone, so those who might not be able to afford the machine can enjoy the easy benefits of fresh produce daily.

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