Cold-pressed juice is hot these days. It’s made by applying thousands of pounds of pressure to extract the juice from fruit and vegetables, and it's supposed to be healthier because no heat or oxygen is used in the process and supposedly no nutrients are lost. But it’s expensive to buy ready-made and really, who wants to shop for all those vegetables? America demands both health and convenience. And so we present the Juicero.

It’s a $700 machine that on its own does absolutely nothing. You have to buy pre-packaged pouches of vegetables priced from $4 to $10 and stick them the machine. It then applies 8,000 pounds of pressure to squeeze out the juice. Of course it’s a smart device, scanning each pouch and checking to ensure that it's a fresh pouch. So if your Wi-Fi is down, no Spicy Green for you.

It sounds like the worst kind of Keurig pod racket chasing a fad, an overpriced machine with expensive proprietary pouches that lock you into one supplier for life, creating an endless stream of pouchy garbage. After all, we have been ranting about the waste and cost of the Kuerig/Nespresso model of consumption for years. The fact that investors have thrown $120 million at it almost seems like a joke. (Seems ready-made for a rant of the Just What We Needed variety.)


However, there are aspects to this product that differ from the Keurig. It’s easy to make a cup of coffee, but making a glass of cold-pressed juice is hard. Inventor Doug Evans notes that the average American eats half the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables — partially because it's a lot of work. It was a lot of work for him too; not only did he design a machine that would do the job, but he also set up an infrastructure of local farmers to supply fresh vegetables. According to The New York Times, an investor noted:

“It’s the most complicated business that I’ve ever funded,” said David Krane, a partner at GV, formerly Google Ventures. “It’s software. It’s consumer electronics. It’s produce and packaging.”

veggies in a pouchVeggies in a pouch. Just what we needed? (Photo: Juicero)

The vegetables are all certified organic and triple washed before they are diced and packed. Then they are shipped in compostable packages and must be used within six days or they won’t work. That’s a safety measure; keep them any longer and they might make you sick. Even then, the company worries, noting on the site:

Our juice is an unpasteurized product made with 100% raw, organic produce, and may contain bacteria that could cause illness. Children under 5 years old, elderly, pregnant women, or those with a compromised immune system should consult a physician before drinking unpasteurized products.

For those who drink it (and live), there are supposed to be great health benefits. Critics are not so sure, saying juice is juice and this is all a waste of money, and really, you should just eat your vegetables and get the fiber too. According to the Globe and Mail, “Experts say there isn’t enough scientific support for the claims that cold-pressed juice is any better for us than other kinds.”

On the other hand, if you're into juice, this machine will save you a lot of shopping, washing, chopping and pressing. And if your fridge is anything like my family's fridge, there's a lot of compost-bound material in the vegetable crisper, and that's wasteful. The Juicero is also wasteful in all that pouch packaging; it's expensive, and it works only with a proprietary single-source supplier, but at least it's doing something that's hard to do otherwise. So I'm passing on the outrage.

What do you think? Outrageous and expensive waste or an object of desire? Take our poll here.

Lloyd Alter ( @lloydalter ) writes about smart (and dumb) tech with a side of design and a dash of boomer angst.