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Summary:

Zeer is a social networking site built around a special focus: food. Their key asset appears to be a database of over 100,000 food items, searchable by UPC code (it turned up about 80% of the random things I pulled off my pantry shelves), and carrying […]

ScreenshotZeer is a social networking site built around a special focus: food. Their key asset appears to be a database of over 100,000 food items, searchable by UPC code (it turned up about 80% of the random things I pulled off my pantry shelves), and carrying nutrition information as well as user-generated reviews and ratings. In addition to this content and community forums, Zeer wants to manage your shopping list; you can maintain it online or access it, along with Zeer’s other info, from a mobile device. They envision people stopping at a new item display in the grocery store and looking to see what their friends think of it, for example.

Web workers tend to move towards doing everything online, and I’d love to use Zeer for my grocery list – but it doesn’t quite work for me (and I do all the grocery shopping for our family). While it’s useful to be able to find, say, pears without sugar added, I really want to limit the search to “products in my local grocery store” – which of course isn’t technically feasible yet. Similarly, I can’t imagine updating an online pantry inventory often enough to make it useful. I guess I’ll have to leave some of my life offline for now.

  1. This reminds me of this video on how a Google Android add-in may enable barcode scanning. I’d love to see the two integrated.

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  2. I’m sorry but this is dot bomb time all over again. Grocery list on line?? I would wager to say that most average people in the US (let alone other countries) do NOT shop for milk, cheese, bread this way.

    What’s next? Pet food online? Get paid somehow for eyeballs. Wait that was already tried. But perhaps with a social networking twist, it might just work.

    I see absolutely nothing wrong with making a list on a piece of paper and shopping once per week (the approx frequency in our household).

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  3. 100,000 foot items?

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  4. Ah…that would be “food” items, of course. Thanks for the catch, David. I’ve fixed the story.

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  5. I agree with Nimish. Keeping a paper list on the fridge captures the info right way and in the context of preparing food.

    The only use I could think for this sort of tool is if you want to band together with some people in your area and form a food coop. If they are in the area and they consume they same basics as you, it is a simple step to get regular deliveries from a wholesaler.

    This could be a good tool for making that connection.

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  6. Freaky. A while ago, before I saw this, I was pondering whether an online app for inventorying what you had on hand for food would make sense. My take was for knowing when you were running out, related enough, and for meal planning. Wasn’t thinking automated, though perhaps you could have it search recipes automatically and come up with matches to X or more ingredients on hand, ordered by fewest added items needed to buy to complete the recipe. Or something like that.

    Part of the inspiration, though, was my current reading of ingredients (as best I can without a magnifying glass, which is part of the problem), and thinking it would be cool to generate a list of everything containing Y, or both Y and Z.

    I hadn’t thought of sharing, apart from maybe keeping the ingredients data, or of some of the other possibilities. I also thought it sounded like more trouble than it was worth.

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  7. Several years ago, pre-marriage/kiddo domestication, I did create a database much as Jay had pondered. It worked very well for me – “The Machine” as it were. I could easily plan my high-nutrient blended meals with an accurate product list and budget when returning to the store to replenish. But then comes variables that exceeded the breadth and depth of my application. Variables such as a foodie wife and youth who want new/weird kid-stuff I’ve never heard of (so the social thing adds strength here). Added complexity, all that they want changes with the seasons, and then all that they want in a season changes year to year! Too many variables in their personalities which I’ve learned are the spice of life – the cool part of humanity – which is not measurable.

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