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.

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