If you're looking for a quick and easy way to compost at home, you've probably come across the Vitamix FoodCycler FC-50. As an electric composter, it's advertised as a great way to reduce food waste, and even use the finished product it makes to enrich your plants. But, is the Vitamix FoodCycler as good as it sounds?
If the Vitamix FoodCycler FC-50 works as intended, then that's great! Having a machine do all the composting work for you while you improve your impact on the environment would be fantastic. So, let's take a look at what the people who've already bought the FoodCycler FC-50 have to say and see if it's truly worth it.
To start, let's first dive into what the Vitamix FoodCycler actually does, then discover if it accomplishes what it sets out to do.
What does the Vitamix FoodCycler do?
The Vitamix FoodCycler FC-50 takes your food waste and turns it into dirt. It does this by using energy to heat up, dehydrate, and grind those food scraps. It essentially works like a blender that can get really hot. By heating, dehydrating, and grinding fruit and vegetable scraps, the Vitamix FoodCycler is able to quickly and effectively reduce food waste volume. A full bucket of food scraps will turn into a mostly empty bucket with some dry and ground kitchen waste.
Reducing food waste volume is good, as it will literally take up less space in landfills and emit fewer carbon emissions. However, the downside here is that the Vitamix FoodCycler is using electricity to accomplish this. Whether or not this is worth it will also depend on what you're doing with the FoodCycler's output.
Vitamix reviews: does the FoodCycler really work?
The overall reviews for the FoodCycler are decent, with most reviewers relatively happy with how their FoodCycler is working, so we can assume it generally works as intended. However, this does also depend on what you want your FoodCycler to do. If you're looking for an appliance that turns food scraps into a natural fertilizer that you can use immediately, the Vitamix FoodCycler FC-50 isn't going to work for you. However, if you are just looking for a machine that can reduce food waste volume and intend to use that output in a compost pile, the FoodCycler is likely to work just fine.
Of course, it is also important to note that some people did find they had issues getting their FoodCyclers to work properly. For example, this reviewer found their Vitamix FoodCycler was struggling to break down the food scraps they were putting in it:
For some people that even found the FoodCycler was working as intended, they didn't actually find it was very helpful. The FoodCycler FC-50 is at least meant to be convenient and make your life easier. But, some reviewers found everything about the machine just made it more trouble than it's worth:
In the end, you can generally expect it to actually work. It's just important to note that it does not create finished compost, the end product will need to be composted before use. You may also find that it does not provide as much convenience as might be expected.
How to use FoodCycler compost: what to do with that end product
If you're looking into getting an electric composter, part of the reason might be that you'd like to use the finished product as fertilizer for your plants or garden soil. Unfortunately, the Vitamix FoodCycler's finished product isn't meant to be used as a soil amendment right away. If you want to use it as fertilizer, it would need to be buried for a few weeks, or added to a regular compost pile first.
If you do try to add the FoodCycler's end product directly to your plants or garden soil, there are a couple of risks to be aware of. The first potential problem is molding. Because the food waste hasn't actually been composted, it's possible for that dirt to start molding, which can then affect your plants.
Another problem is that the scent of the finished product can attract animals, such as local wildlife or even neighborhood dogs. Of course, this would be less of an issue if you just wanted to use it for indoor plants and you don't have any pets, but you would also get to smell the dehydrated food scraps.
If you don't have a traditional compost bin at home, then this means the end product is most likely getting added to the trash. When this happens, you're using electricity to grind up your food scraps before sending them to a landfill, which really isn't ideal, especially if the Vitamix FoodCycler is being powered with non-renewable energy.
If you do want quick and easy natural fertilizer, you do still have some options. For example, Lomi is a kitchen appliance that simulates the ideal composting environment to help break down food waste. With the help of LomiPods, it also introduces beneficial microbes necessary for compost, which accelerates the composting process. Because of that ideal environment and those essential microorganisms, the dirt Lomi produces makes a great nutrient-rich fertilizer for your plants and garden.
6 other FAQs about the Vitamix FoodCycler
Now that you understand what the Vitamix FoodCycler FC-50 does and how it works, let's get into some of the finer details.
1. What can you put in the Vitamix FoodCycler?
You might think you can throw any food scraps into your FoodCycler FC-50, but you actually need to be pretty careful about what goes in there. Most fruit and vegetable scraps are fine, but there are a lot of limitations beyond that. For example, you should never include nuts, oily foods, or fruit pits.
If you're unsure what can go in your machine, you can look it up, but Vitamix doesn't have extensive documentation available for what can and can't be put in the FoodCycler FC-50. If you don't want to accidentally harm your machine, that means it's probably best to err on the side of caution and just throw away those scraps. If that's happening often enough, then what's the point?
If you're looking for an appliance that you can be sure about what it can and can't be used for, Lomi has great guides you can use to understand what it can process. On top of that, Lomi can actually process much more waste than the Vitamix FoodCycler FC-50 can. For example, scraps like watermelon rinds and pineapple leaves should never go in a FoodCycler, but Lomi has no problems breaking those down. Lomi is also capable of breaking down Lomi Approved bioplastics, which is a feature unique to Lomi.
2. Is the Vitamix FoodCycler loud?
As the Vitamix FoodCycler FC-50 runs for anywhere between 4 and 8 hours, you would definitely want it to be quiet. Unfortunately, one of the most common complaints we found in the reviews is that the machine is annoyingly loud. This really isn't great when the suggestion is for you to run it overnight.
However, if you have a separate room you could keep the FoodCycler in, like a garage, or the noise just doesn't really bother you, then this might not be an issue at all.
3. Does the FoodCycler smell?
While the Vitamix FoodCycler FC-50 has carbon filters, that doesn't seem to actually prevent it from smelling. Another common complaint we found was about the smell the FoodCycler produced. Now, this is possibly because the carbon filters needed replacing, but this is clearly happening enough for it to be an issue.
Once again, if you have a separate room in which you can store your FoodCycler FC-50, then that might not be a huge issue. However, if it's stuck in your kitchen, having it be loud and stinky the whole time it's running is going to be seriously unpleasant.
4. Is the FoodCycler easy to clean?
The Vitamix FoodCycler FC-50 does claim to be dishwasher safe, which should make it easy to clean, but that doesn't seem to be the case. We found many complaints about how difficult the bucket is to clean, and it seems to be because of the way the bucket is designed. This tends to make it annoying to use.
5. Is the FoodCycler durable?
Most of the reviews seem to be okay with how the FoodCycler is holding up when they start using the machine. However, some reviewers mentioned there were issues with product they received, and were unable to get those problems solved with customer service. Some other reviewers talked about issues cropping up after extended use, such as the lining of the bucket peeling off and mixing into the dehydrated kitchen scraps.
Because reviews of a product are generally made soon after receiving and using the product, it's hard to tell how well the FoodCycler FC-50 will last over a long period of time. This can make the FoodCycler FC-50 a potentially risky investment.
6. How sustainable is the Vitamix FoodCycler?
If you're looking for an accessible way to compost at home, then you probably care about the environment and are looking for a way to reduce your own impact. So, is the Vitamix Foodcycler FC-50 a sustainable investment? Unless it's always used in ideal conditions, the answer is probably not.
The FoodCycler creates emissions when it's produced and shipped to your home, and it uses electricity. It does reduce food waste volume, but that food waste could still end up in a landfill, which minimizes its positive impact. If you're using renewable energy to power your FoodCycler, and you have an outdoor compost bin to add the end product to, then this would definitely be superior to just throwing food scraps into the garbage bin. If those conditions aren't being met, then there are definitely more sustainable options for you.
It's also important to consider just how much energy the FoodCycler will use. As you can see from these reviews, the energy use was a bit more than expected, which can also impact the amount you're paying:
If sustainability is a priority for you, Lomi is a fantastic option. Pela's mission is to eliminate waste and to help you reduce food waste at home. With their mission and the health of the planet in mind, Pela ensures that purchasing Lomi doesn't negatively impact the environment. When you buy Lomi, it arrives at your door climate neutral. And, because Lomi produces nutrient and microbe-rich fertilizer, it can be easily used as a soil amendment instead of getting thrown away. While Lomi does also require electricity, it can still help you reduce waste and carbon emissions.
So, is the FoodCycler worth it?
Whether or not the FoodCycler is worth it depends on what you're looking for and how you plan on using it. If you're looking for a machine that will dehydrate your food scraps so you can add that to your outdoor compost bin, and you're able to power it with renewable energy, then it might be worth it.
However, if you want an appliance that can create a natural fertilizer for you to use on a regular basis, the Vitamix FoodCycler FC-50 is not going to be worth it. The dirt it creates needs to be composted before it can be used, and the machine itself can be annoying to run and difficult to take care of. Instead, you should look for a more environmentally-friendly and reliable alternative, such as a Lomi.
Try Lomi for a more reliable alternative
Lomi is a quick, easy, and sustainable way for you to turn your food scraps into nutrient-rich dirt that you can feed to your indoor and outdoor plants. Lomi is odor-free, quiet, and easy to clean with a dishwasher-safe bucket inside. Unlike with the FoodCycler, you don't need an outdoor composter to get the most out of Lomi and reduce your own carbon footprint. As a bonus, Lomi comes with a 30 day risk-free trial, so you can actually test it out for yourself before committing to owning one.
Reducing food waste is an admirable goal, and one that shouldn't be frustrating. You don't need to deal with a loud and stinky machine just to put in even more work when it's done. Instead, check out Lomi online and see how it can make reaching your goal both easy and convenient.
Written by: Sereana Simpson