T3 Opinion: Juicero - the Nespresso of juicing - is such a ridiculous idea we assumed it was an April Fool

Make juice from veg pre-packed in $10 plastic bags using a device that costs $700 and is always connected to the internet. Sorry, what?

T3 originally published this piece on April 1st, 2016. However, due to a report published by Bloomberg (opens in new tab) on the Juicero yesterday, we decided to republish it due to its topicality. 

Also, you know, because we were 100 per cent correct...

Eloquently displaying exactly why it is that many people in the developing world hate us, Juicero is a $699 (£500) 'cold-press' juicer that uses a Nespresso pod-style system of bags filled with pre-chopped veg and fruit to create juice, whilst trumpeting its organic-'n'-fresh credentials. It's preposterous, it has a brand new Facebook and Twitter page, and an advert that's kind of plausible but really not quite like a proper advert.

In short, everything about it screams April Fool, and yet seemingly it's not. It launched March 31, for a start. But come on, does this seem real to you?

Juicero is the brainchild of Doug Evans, who we hadn't heard of before, so we had to look him up. Turns out he's been Tweeting about juice and nutrition for a long time. He started out as a graffiti artist, "hanging out with Basquiat and Warhol", left school to join the army, then left the army to become a graphic designer, as you do. How? Doug "tracked down legendary designer Paul Rand, showed up on his doorstep and worked closely with him for seven years without pay."

After his mother died of cancer, herealised that "Fruits and vegetables save lives" andbecame a raw vegan. And now, he's invented a juicer that doesn't look like a juicer, so we can derive more nutrition from said fruits and veg.

Juicero has apparently been through 12 prototypes and raised $70 million in funding from Silicon Valley investors - which again seems totally implausible, but then California is awash with Gwyneth Paltrow-style food nerds who love investing in disruptive tech startups, so who knows?

This is how it works.

Somewhere in a food factory - presumably very near a farm, as Juicero is at pains to emphasise its farm-to-glass traceability and nutritiousness credentials - people chop and slice veg and put it in recyclable plastic bags ready to ship to you. They cost from $4 to $10 a shot. Just like a Nespresso, you slot these bags into your Juicero and it then uses a hydraulic press to extract a glassful of delicious juice. Mmm-mm.

Juice lovers feel that pressing in this way extracts the maximum nutrition.

The Juicero needs to be attached to Wi-Fi for "real-time updates" and it uses QR codes on the juice packs to tell you what farm the stuff came from and what its nutritional content is.

Stuart Patterson works for Artis Ventures, which is one of Juicero's investors. He told Business Insider: "This product, when you drink it, it's alive… This blows your mind because [the fruits and vegetables are] in a natural state. It's just a beautiful thing."

Now all of this sounds like such utter cobblers that we immediately assumed it was an April 1 prank. But if it is, then it's both an incredibly elaborate one, and it's also cheated, by launching on the day before April 1.

Why? We'll tell you why, sir!

It's hard to square the idea of wanting ultimate freshness with a methodology that involves pre-chopping and bagging. It's easy to point out that simply eating fruit and vegetables is a pretty good way of getting nutrition from fruit and vegetables, and a lot cheaper. We're not even convinced that cold press juicing is even that much better a way of extracting nutrition than a masticating blender you can pick up for a few hundred quid.

Oh, and if Jony Ive and Yves Béhar were involved with the design of this thing, as apparently they were, we're not sure they'll look back on it as their best work.

However, if what you've always wanted is a $700 juicer that does away with the HORRIBLY arduous tasks of buying fruit and veg and then doing a little bit of prep on them, and are willing to pay up to $10 PER GLASS OF GODDAMN JUICE made of "Sweet Greens", "Spicy Greens", "Carrot beet" or "Sweet Roots", then you go right ahead.

Seriously, does this feel like a wind-up or what?

Don't forget to check out our guide to the best juicer

Duncan has been writing about tech for almost 15 years and fitness ever since he became middle aged and realised he could no longer rely solely on his boyish good looks. He used to be on telly loads, but an unfortunate incident put a stop to that, so he now largely contents himself with telling people, "I used to be on the TV, you know."
Pre-lockdown Duncan was widely regarded as the best-dressed man ever to work for T3 – admittedly not saying much. Post-lockdown he is looking forward to wearing clothes other than shorts and hoodies again very soon, assuming he can still fit into them. He currently writes about cycling, fitness tech that isn’t too heavy, and all things kitchen and home related.