- Whole Foods is trialing self-serve juicers from Juicero in 11 of its Southern California stores, according to Supermarket News. The cold-pressed juices sell for $5 a glass and come in flavors like Beta Glow, Root Renewal+ and Sweet Greens.
- The Juicero system uses refrigerated “produce packs” merchandised in a special in-store kiosk. Customers select a pack, pay for it, and then insert it into the juicer positioned atop the kiosk. Each pack contains organic fruits and vegetables that have been recently harvested, triple-washed and chopped.
- Juicero CEO Jeff Dunn told Supermarket News that the juicers appear in some stores that already have a fresh-fruit bar, and that Whole Foods is experimenting with the placement of the juicing stations. Some stores have placed the kiosk at the front of the store, others in the prepared foods section.
With its sales struggling amidst increased competition, Whole Foods needs a few in-store hits. Could Juicero’s high-tech juicers be one of them?
Cold-pressed juice is certainly a hot opportunity. Recent years have seen the formerly niche market, which uses high-pressure pasteurization rather than the traditional heating method to preserve nutrients in fruits and vegetables, grow into mass-market viability through brands like BluePrint and Starbucks’ Evolution Fresh. According to Research and Markets, cold-pressed juices are pegged to deliver a 10% CAGR between 2016 and 2022.
Whole Foods has enjoyed robust sales in this category, and a self-serve station could offer juice lovers an interesting new take on the trend. Juicero is sleek, Wi-Fi connected, and offers the same convenience as a pod coffee system.
But what does Juicero offer that fresh-fruit juice bars and bottled juices don’t? The answer isn’t exactly clear. The bars already offer quick, convenient cold-pressed juice, and RTD bottles have on-the-go convenience. Since it’s served by the glass, Juicero juices could be a beverage to enjoy while shopping.
Most likely, Whole Foods and Juicero will trade on the novelty angle, and on the unique flavors each pack offers. Since Juicero also sells to consumer — a Juicero machine retails for $400 — perhaps Whole Foods could become a sales outlet.
Here’s something else for Whole Foods to consider when testing these juicers: the waste factor. According to Juicero’s website, its produce packs are recyclable after they’ve been opened and the nutrient pulp inside has been taken out. Does Whole Foods have a disposal plan in place? As a retailer that trades on its natural, sustainable image, it certainly should. If it doesn’t, it could face a backlash similar to what coffee pod makers are experiencing.