My day job requires trips to the grocery store at least three times a week, and sometimes up to five times a week. Needless to say, I'm always looking for tools to help make shopping quick and efficient, with a minimum of forgotten ingredients — nothing is worse than having to return to the store for one stupid thing! — and I think I've found it all in the Grocery iQ app.
With Grocery iQ, you input shopping list items — either by manually typing them in or using your phone's camera to scan the bar codes — and organize your lists by store. Items can be attached to a certain store or put on all lists, so that you only see curry paste on your "Asian Market" list, but brown sugar will show up whether you are shopping at Whole Foods or the corner store.
As you shop, you can check items off the list to move them into your Shopping Cart, and when you're done, you "check out," which moves all the items you bought into your history. This means you only need to enter an item once into Grocery iQ; once it is in your history, adding it to a shopping list again only requires a finger tap. Frequently purchased items can be marked as Favorites, so it is easier to find them and add them to a shopping list.
One of the best features of Grocery iQ is the ability to easily organize the list categories to match the aisles of a given store. When setting up a store list, you can move aisles around, delete unnecessary aisles, and add or modify aisle names. It's such a time-saver!
Another important feature for me is the ability to share lists with others. You can either email a nicely formatted list to a non-Grocery iQ user, or go the much cooler route of inviting someone to share a list with you, which means you can both modify it in real time.
There is also coupon integration, but because I do nearly all of my personal shopping at Trader Joe's, the bulk goods store, and the farmers market, I have never used this feature.
My only minor complaint about the app is that often the brand name of the item is so long, the actual thing is difficult to discern at a glance. For that reason, I find manually entering items is often better than using the bar code scanner; I just write "heavy cream," and I can figure out for myself what brand I want when I get to the store.
Grocery iQ is available for the iPhone, iPad and Android.
• Check out the website: Grocery iQ
• Download the app: Grocery iQ at the iTunes store
Do you use Grocery iQ? Are there any apps or programs you use to make shopping lists or do you prefer pen and paper?
Related: Download This: Free Meal Planning Grocery List
(Images: Grocery iQ)