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Juicero, of the totally unnecessary $400 juice press, squeezes itself out of business

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Well, the Bay Area isn’t going to have Juicero to kick around anymore.

The company responsible for one of tech’s most mocked products is shutting down.

It was only 16 months ago that Juicero, of San Francisco, launched its Wi-Fi-connected counter-top gadget for squeezing juice from its proprietary packets of fruits and vegetables, and immediately fell prey to snarky observers laughing at its $700 price.

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In January, the firm — which had raised $120 million in funding from the likes of Google’s parent firm Alphabet and Silicon Valley VC titan Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers — made a bold move, slashing the price to a mere $400.

“The price cut seems to speak to just how difficult it is to sell a nearly $700 juicer that can’t juice fruits and vegetables bought at the store,” The Verge reported.

The foodstuffs for Juicero’s cold-pressed squeezing came in $5-to-$8 packets delivered weekly to customers. Those packs were “chilled at a perfect 41 degrees,” the company used to say.

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And there was value added. With the company’s app, users could read about the farms that produced the fruits, and about the nutritional content, along with monitoring personal use of the connected juice-making device.

But even the reduced cost looked like $400 too much after enterprising journalists at Bloomberg decided to conduct a little test using their bare hands.

“Squeezing the bag yields nearly the same amount of juice just as quickly—and in some cases, faster—than using the device,” Bloomberg reported in April.

Humiliating headlines spread worldwide.

And now Juicero is no more, the company announced on its website Sept. 1.

“After selling over a million Produce Packs, we must let you know that we are suspending the sale of the Juicero Press and Produce Packs immediately,” the firm said.

Juicero blamed the shutdown not on the device’s price, nor on the revelation that there was no actual need for it, but instead on insufficient infrastructure. Last month, the company started identifying ways to source, make and distribute its products so it could lower prices for consumers, Juicero said.

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“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 standalone business,” the company said on its site.

But somewhere, someone may want to snap up this failed startup, Juicero suggested.

“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,” the company said.

For owners of the device who will no longer be able to get the juice packs, there appears to be a silver lining: The company promised that for the next 90 days it will offer refunds on purchased devices. Customers with active subscriptions for the juice packs will get their last batches the week of Sept. 4, Juicero said.

Photo: Fruit (Wikimedia Commons)

Tags: cold-pressed, juice, Juiero, san francisco, startup

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