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Doug Evans is a raw-food evangelist who trained as an Army paratrooper before joining a graphic design firm. In 2006, he started a juice store called Organic Avenue -- which failed -- and then founded Juicero, a juice-ordering app, kitchen-counter appliance and 1111,000-square-foot food-processing factory in Los Angeles. The appliance is a white plastic slab roughly the size of a food processor; you insert a pouch, which costs $4 to $10 each, depending on the flavor, and press a button. It goes to work, and a couple of minutes later, a stream of liquid pours into your glass. Inside the machine is a series of gears and metal plates exerting 8,000 pounds of pressure on packs of chopped fruits and vegetables. A camera in the machine scans the QR code on each pack and, using Wi-Fi, checks in with an online database. Here’s how smart it is: If it finds the pack is no longer fresh, or has been deemed contaminated, the machine won’t press it.
The flavors are unique: Sweet Roots (carrot, beet, orange, lemon and apple) and Spicy Greens (pineapple, romaine lettuce, celery, cucumber, spinach, parsley and jalapeño) are two examples.
Sounds simple enough, but Evans tells The New York Times that the process involves a daunting mix of hardware, code and food processing that relies on a smartphone app, always-on Wi-Fi, QR codes, high-tech packaging and an army of workers slicing fruits and vegetables in particular ways.
Nutritious pressed juices are on trend. Starbucks has acquired Evolution Fresh, and Campbell Soup’s Bolthouse Farms is one of the hottest product lines in recent times.
Seven hundred dollars is a lot for an appliance, as is the price of each serving, even though the machine never needs cleaning, due to its unique design.
Keurig’s success was in making its machines cheap and earning its money on the K-cups. Gillette gives away the razor to get you to buy their blades. We can only hope that as Juicero builds its customer base, the price comes down and greed doesn’t destroy a great idea.