Juicero employees found out in a letter on Friday that the company is cutting the price of its cold-press juicing system. Some employees also found out they had been cut, too.
In a letter obtained by Fortune, Juicero CEO Jeff Dunn wrote, “the current prices of $US399 for the Press and $US5 – $US7 for produce Packs are not a realistic way for us to fulfil our mission at the scale to which we aspire.”
The San Francisco startup’s mission is to help people consume more fresh produce everyday, and to get there they will focus on the next generation of the machine, which will run less than $US300, according to Fortune.
Dunn also said that 25% of employees, mostly on the marketing side, would lose their jobs in a shift in focus to product development.
The Juicero machine, for those unfamiliar, can whip up a fresh-squeezed fruit and veggie concoction at the press of a button. It’s also WiFi-enabled, and can tell you the nutritional value of your drink. It originally cost $US700 when it first launched, plus it received endorsements from Gwyneth Paltrow and Dr.Oz and was hailed as the ultimate Silicon Valley indulgence.
Founder Doug Evans envisioned doing for juice what Steve Jobs did for Apple. In a blog post he wrote the machine took over three years and 12 prototypes to create, and that the final product exceeded his “grandest dreams.”
The company has faced blowback from consumers after an April Bloomberg article revealed the packets could be easily squeezed by hand. According to the article, investors were a little peeved to learn that the machine was not actually necessary for the same “farm to glass” juice experience. Those investors — which include Campbell Soup, Google Ventures, and Kleiner Perkins — helped Juicero raise $US100 million in 2015 after three years in stealth mode.
Evans responded to the Bloomberg story, saying the company already knew the packs could be squeezed into juice and that the value lies in the machine’s smart features and consistent pressing technique — not just the juice itself.
Juicero packets expire quickly — 8 days, according to the company — and the machine’s connected features help them maintain their tight supply chain. The product even has an app that reminds you to drink your juice before it expires.
Evans offered a full refund to unsatisfied customers, but said less than 5% of customers had taken him up on it.
Customers will have to decide for themselves if the reduced price is worth it for a glass of juice. To help you decide, read about Business Insider’s experience testing the Juicero juicer.