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Grocery IQ: Grocery Shopping Just Got Easier

Grocery IQ by Free State Labs was recently Apple’s App Store Pick of the Week, and for good reason.

While there are other grocery list apps, and plenty of generic task list apps, that can help you remember to bring home milk and eggs, Grocery IQ has a unique method of helping you select from an internal database of over 130,000 items including brand names that you can find in US grocery stores. The program is smart enough to filter the list as you type, and it will take partial words (think “cheer honey” for Cheerios Honey Nut Cereal) to help you find items even faster. You can add items to your shopping list and Grocery IQ will present you with the appropriate “size” options. It knows my favorite ice cream comes in pint containers, and that the dog food comes in 20lb or 40lb bags so I can be specific when planning my purchases.

Using the app while shopping is easy too. Grocery IQ includes the aisle information in its database to help you organize your circuit through the store. If an item is located somewhere else in your particular store, you can customize the aisle (and even the aisle names) to help you stay focused on your intended prey while you are traversing the linoleum-tiled halls of the store. When you finish, the app will save your items to its history. You can then use the history and the favorites to quickly build a shopping list for your next trip.

If you need someone else to pick up the items for you, you can email the list (arranged neatly in aisles) with the touch of a button. The email feature uses the built-in mail application to send your message, so you have the opportunity to add a polite, “would you mind?” to the request or provide details about the store where the recipient can find these items.

I was impressed with how many of the items in our pantry appeared in the database. The predictive search works relatively fast so you can get a list together in no time. The ability to refer to previously identified items from the history or your favorites has the benefit of making the app easier to use as time goes on (I love software that honors the effort I put into learning how to use it!). In the end, I much prefer this quick list building to having to type something out in the built-in Notes application on the iPhone.

Free State Labs is promising some great features in the next update as well. At the top of the list is support for multiple lists and stores. I assume this would let you make a produce list for the farmer’s market and a dry goods list for the neighborhood store, or separate lists for the membership club warehouse and the big box superstore. The next update should include even more grocery data as well. Version 2.0, planned for a November release, will include syncing between iPhones through the web. This would be the killer feature for our family so that my wife and I could both contribute items to a shared shopping list throughout the day that would be available to whomever managed to get to the store first.

For a limited time Grocery IQ is on sale for $1.99. It is regularly $4.99 so if you’re looking for a good deal, I’d suggest getting it right away.

15 Responses to “Grocery IQ: Grocery Shopping Just Got Easier”

  1. Version 2.0 of this wonderful application has been submitted and should be available this week. Check out this link to see screen shots of…

    UPC Scanning
    Savings Card Coupon Support
    Printing coupons directly to your HP printer

  2. Would be nice if this app had the ability to automatically just sort the list by the order I last shopped and checked off the items like Grocery Gadget does. Also Grocery Gadget already has web sync and sync with other devices. Only thing holding me off on that app is the $5 price tag. This one is a buck so is more appealing even if it is missing necessary features. A lot of people say $5 is a trip to Starbucks, however let’s face it, that analogy is getting old. How many cups do I have to buy and dump on the pavement before you get tired of buying apps that don’t work out.


  3. i just installed this app yesterday on the recommendation of a friend.

    as far as the organization by aisle – when i wrote my lists out by hand, i listed items by aisle. just an easier way for me to make it through the store quickly. and i love that this does it for me.

    one thing i hope that they add – it would be great to have approximate msrp’s of all the products. that way you can use it to budget your grocery trip as well as just keep a list.

    until the update comes out with multiple lists (i didn’t see that in the version i installed yesterday), i created an aisle for each of the other stores i frequent. so one aisle is called “target” and i added items to that aisle that i buy there. it will work until the update comes out.

  4. Weldon Dodd

    @John – I did try to point out that the database is for U.S. sources in the review so that someone wouldn’t buy it if they lived elsewhere. I’m actually really curious to know where Grocery IQ gets its item database. It would be cool if they were able to add non-US sources.

    @Adam – My decision was very similar to yours. I saw the sale price and the upcoming features and figured it was worth a chance to see if they can deliver on the promise. I hope you like the app.

    @okaythings – You don’t have to spend any time organizing items by aisle. All the items already appear in a logical group like produce, meat, dairy, etc. You could customize it further if you wanted to, but I find the built-in database pretty useful. It really does help when walking down the aisles in the store. Zenbe Lists sounds cool. I’ll have to check that out too. You wrote a nice review of it.

  5. I like this review. However, the app seems like overkill in some ways for grocery shopping. There is no way in heck I’m going spend time organizing my grocery list into the proper aisles. Hunting for predefined items sounds problematic as well Besides, aisles change, and I don’t alway shop at the same store.

    I like the simplicity of Zenbe Lists for this task. I can already share a single list with my significant other, sharing between iPhones, not just e-mail it. I wrote about Zenbe Lists in detail yesterday:

    Version 2.0 Grocery IQ sounds solid, though.

  6. Once again, a US specific app.
    Supermarkets all use a similar format for stocked items and I’m sure major and minor chains would be happy to provide country specific lists of stocked brands.
    Pencil and paper is still looking like the best www method.