Suvie, the crowdfunded refrigerator + four-zone cooking appliance, announced today via email that the company shipped the first of its reward units to early backers. In a world where many Kickstarted projects never see the light of day, this is news in and of itself.
But what caught our eye about the announcement wasn’t just that Suvie is now shipping — it’s how much the device will cost at retail: $1,199. This is basically double the $599 the company originally said it would sell for. We aren’t sure exactly when the Suvie got more expensive, but its price point is important as it squares off against a raft of smart cooking devices that are already on the market, and in some cases, are already on their second generation.
To be fair, we thought $599 seemed remarkably low for what the Suvie does. Aimed at busy families, Suvie offers both an automated cooking appliance as well as a customized meal kit subscription. The hook for Suvie is that you scan the meal’s code, load it into the device before you leave for work and it will stay chilled at food safe temperatures until it is scheduled to cook. At which point, its four-zone heating simultaneously cooks each ingredient (starch, protein, vegetable) in separate compartments at different temperatures so the entire meal is ready when you get home.
But the leap to twelve hundred dollars is a steep one, and indicates either something didn’t go as planned or serious production issues arose along the way. We reached out to Suvie for clarification and will update when we hear back. (UPDATE: See the response from Suvie Co-Founder and CEO, Robin Liss below)
Regardless of why the price jumped, the point is Suvie is now the priciest of its cohort of countertop connected cooking devices. The Brava, which also does multi-zone cooking, is $995, the second-gen June is $599 and the second-gen Tovala is $349.
And that’s just the hardware. Suvie’s meal plans run $10 – $12 per serving. That means the cost to feed a family can get pretty expensive pretty quick. Suvie can make non-meal plan recipes,
but they don’t appear to offer the same everything-is-done-at-the-same-time convenience after this article published Liss told me that non-meal plan recipes still finish at the same time. While Brava has meal plans, it cooks ingredients you buy at the store just as easily, and Tovala is expanding beyond its meal plan and becoming more of a platform.
Again, the Suvie does both cooling and cooking, so it’s a bit of a different value proposition. But as we’ve noted before, there is limited space on a kitchen counter. If people have already purchased one of these other devices (plus meal plan), will they pony up to purchase another cooking appliance, especially one built for its own meal subscription?
Update from Suvie Co-Founder and CEO, Robin Liss:
We’re starting to ship Kickstarter units, that’s what the announcement is about, we’re still taking pre-orders for later deliveries. We have amazing Kickstarter backers who have been incredibly supportive, and we’re going to continue to gather their feedback and refine the meals and online experience even more. Since demand has been much larger than we could have ever anticipated, there’s still a pretty long wait time to get a Suvie if you’re not a Kickstarter backer or an early website pre-order customer. However, you can pre-order now and get them before they go on sale in retail.
As for the pricing: We’re a new appliance company, and, throughout the development process, quite a few components and technologies turned out to be more expensive than we anticipated – that’s just the honest bottom line. We were probably too optimistic on the price, and, I’m sorry if it’s disappointed people. This advanced technology has been a bit more costly to produce than we initially anticipated. The Suvie kitchen robot has the components of both a refrigerator, a steamer, a slow cooker, sous vide device and an oven all in one. There’s nothing else like it on the market. The upside of this development process has been that we’ve also rolled out many new features, including a Slow Cook mode that really expands the types of meals Suvie can make. We think the Suvie we’re shipping can do a lot more than the original vision we set out 16 months ago – so we hope our consumers see that benefit as well.