Grocery IQ Review from a Natural Food Store Enthusiast

Grocery IQ appWhen I finally took my old flip phone in to the cell phone store, it caused quite a stir.

“Oh, man!  People used to carry these when I was in high school!”

“I’ve worked here for six years, and I’ve never seen a phone like this before!”

“I didn’t even know they made rotary-dialed cell phones!”

You would have thought that it came with a crank and access to a party line by their dumbfounded reactions.  So needless to say, updating my cell phone into this decade has been entertaining.  Along with no longer having to pound out texts by hitting the same digit multiple times, joining Instagram, and oh, right, making phone calls, one thing I was looking forward to by upgrading was changing the way that I make grocery lists.  (Hey, you get your thrills in your way, and I’ll get my thrills in mine…)

The only thing more archaic than my old flip phone was my old grocery list app.  It was called Scribbled On Envelope That Didn’t Make It To the Recycle Bin.

“Hey, honey.  Did you throw away the advertisement for Mr. Pip’s House of Cars?”

“Are you planning on buying a new Toyota?”

“No, I needed to remember to get birdseed and shampoo.”


old school grocery appSo in the interest of keeping my grocery lists in one place that I’d always have in my purse, I began researching more advanced grocery list apps.  The one that seemed to be the most popular for the iPhone was Grocery IQ, a free app.

I downloaded the app and began using Grocery IQ by making several lists for the various stores I usually visit – the natural grocery store, another grocery store in my town where prices are cheaper on certain items, an international grocery store, and lists for stores that exist in other cities for those times when I have access to them.

Now when I’m traveling instead of wondering, “What did I say that I’d get the next time I’m at a big Indian market?” I can just open up my list and take a peek.  It also works well for using cookbooks that have exotic ingredients I can’t find locally.  I can add them to the list to remember what I’m searching for when I’m in a place with a more diverse selection of options.

grocery iq appFor each store, you can change the aisles to go in the order that you get to them.  Aisles can be hidden (for example baby stuff, meat department, etc.), and the names for aisles can be changed.  I changed dairy to be Plant-Based Milks and altered one of the aisles to be Bulk Bins, because there wasn’t a designated section for that.  (Be aware that sometimes when there’s an update, it will change those modifications back to their default names.)

Then I made a list of favorite foods that I buy with the most regularity.  At the beginning of the week, I can scroll through my favorites ticking off what I need, and then add them to the list for the natural grocery store, farmers market, or what have you.  At other times, instead of scrolling through my long favorites list, I just add items to the list by typing them in or giving a voice command.

(This is why my husband likes to tease me from the next room when he hears me say loudly and clearly, seemingly out of nowhere, “French Lentils du Puy!”

Then I hear him say from the office even more loudly and even more clearly, “Brown basmati rice!”)

grocery iq appSpeaking of David, in addition to being able to email lists to others, this app has a synch feature, so that you can add other phones to the same list.  This means that he can also add to the list remotely from his phone, and when he stops by the grocery store, he knows if I’ve already purchased something.  That way we don’t end up with multiples if we both have decided to do a grocery run on the same day.  When he gets something from the list or adds to it, it prompts me on my phone with a notification, so that I know it’s been done.

Also when we’re at the grocery store together, as we each tick the boxes, it moves the items to the bottom of the list.  (When you’re ready to checkout, you hit a checkout button and it removes them from the list altogether.)  When David and I grocery shop together, we can both tick boxes from our respective phones and not have to say afterwards, “Oh, I thought you were grabbing the mushrooms…”  We can already see what’s been procured as it happens.  The items that weren’t available or that for whatever reason we didn’t get that time around stay on the list for a future visit.  No need to worry about an old envelope getting thrown out because there was only one item left on it.

As far as negatives go, I assume that the app makes money by offering coupons from a coupon service.  Sometimes there will be a little notation next to an item on the list, indicating that there’s a coupon available for it.  For someone with my buying habits, their coupon part of it is useless for me.  Obviously, there aren’t a lot of coupons out there for farmers market strawberries and bulk bin chickpeas.  For those items that I do buy packaged, they don’t have coupons for those.  Their coupons are more mainstream, big corporation-focused than they are organic/vegan/natural-focused.  It’s easy enough to ignore that part, and for the price (free), it doesn’t matter so much.  But if they ever wanted to start adding coupons for my favorite tofu, seitan, or rice milk, hey, I’m up for saving money!

One other negative, I wish there was a way to freeze the list screen.  Sometimes when I’m scooping yeast flakes from the bulk bin, I’ll nudge the phone, and it moves to a different screen.  Unlike with my old junk mail grocery lists, I don’t feel quite as inclined to just leave my phone laying in the cart while I scoop and pour.

ProduceIf you’re interested in seeing the items that are on my favorites list, or if you just want to see what goes into a vegan pantry, I’ve added a Vegan Grocery List to my blog.  Obviously, I don’t need to get everything on that list every week.  Depending on what I already have on hand and what is available seasonally, the items that I pick up vary.  The list can be printed, and items from the list can be deleted to suit your preferences.  Check that out here.

What is your method for making grocery lists?  Do you have an app that you’d recommend?


  1. says

    That sounds pretty cool! I have to admit, though, that when it comes to cell phones and apps and such, I’m pretty much a Luddite. :-) We just have a basic TracFone that BW carries while he’s doing his UPS thang, and he only JUST got an iPad for his birthday two weeks ago and is still figuring a lot of it out. So I still use the old school paper grocery list (though I do have a really slick shopping list pad that sticks to my fridge by a magnet on the back, pretty cool, huh? LOL) I am so infamous for losing my shopping lists between Home and Store #1 or between Store #1 and Store #2 (they mysteriously turn up weeks later when I’m going through pockets or purse looking in vain for my current list) that I fear I might go through cell phones by the thousands of $$$’s worth if I used them for my grocery lists! :-)

    • says

      Tell me more about this magnet upgrade to a paper grocery list! Fancy! 😉

      I totally hear you on losing expensive gadgets! I’ve never been inclined to buy expensive sunglasses, because I’m just sure that if I do, I’ll sit on them or leave them behind somewhere. With the cheap pairs that I buy, I never lose them! :)

      • says

        I’d love to tell you more about the magnet upgrade, but it’s so high tech and complex that I can’t even begin to understand it myself. But it has something to do with the north pole, so I reckon Santa is involved somehow. Or maybe Rudolph. :-)

        I don’t have that luxury with my sunglasses, I’m Mrs. Magoo and so my sunglasses have to be prescription to prevent me from walking into walls! 😎

        • says

          Santa is involved? I like it already!

          I’m sorry to hear that you are Mrs. Magoo, but it could be worse… You could be Mrs. Wimpy. I hear his cholesterol is through the roof! 😉

  2. says

    And I thought I was the last one on earth to trade in my tiny phone for an iphone! And I’ve had mine for at least three years now. I even have a shopping list app (ShopListFree) which I tried to use, but I seem to have more trouble remembering to use it than I do keeping track of the torn-paper list. Now I’ve downloaded your app, but it’s probably a useless action. Somehow a list still just doesn’t feel like a list unless I write it down. :( We’ll see …

    • says

      If you’re content with your old method, there’s no reason you have to change! For me, I wanted a way to insure that we’d stop occasionally double-buying things when both David and I decided to make an impromptu grocery run on the same day. With only two people in our household, it can be tricky to finish off an excess of groceries! :)

      • says

        I replaced my old app with yours and I like it much better — especially the voice command, even though it doesn’t always consider my commands to be legitimate products! Coordinating with Ken will be really helpful, too. If we use the app, that is. :)

        • says

          I have found that when I’m using the voice commands, instead of clicking on the Grocery IQ microphone, I press on the item field. Then it takes me to the typical iPhone microphone/text page. That microphone works well, and it doesn’t have to be attached to one of their chosen products. It was frustrating at first that they wouldn’t have bulk beans as an option, for example, and so I’d have to hit canned, knowing that’s not what I wanted. With the general iPhone microphone, you can just enter whatever you want, regardless of whether or not it’s in the Grocery IQ list.

          Being able to coordinate with David is one of the best parts of the service for sure. I’ll be interested to know if you decide to use it!

  3. says

    My husband and I both downloaded the app after you recommended it to me a few months ago, and we have been using it a lot. It’s such a great tool for people who share the same list. Now we stop double-buying the same items by accident! Thanks for the tip.

    • says

      Oh, good! I’m glad to hear that it’s working out for you! That was our problem too (re: double-buying the same items). With the money we saved, that leaves more room in the budget for fig impulse buys! :)

  4. says

    LOL at the “scribbled on envelope that didn’t make it to recycling bin”…so been there! I’ll have to check this app out. I used your grocery list on my most recent trip to the farmer’s market and it definitely helped since I was feeling uninspired. I had no idea what to get because I had no meals in mind but we needed food! So we printed off your list and just circled what sounded good. It worked out well and gave us some direction.

  5. says

    So there’s a more efficient way to make grocery list than on the back of the power bill envelope? You youngsters and your gadgets!

    I’m so inefficient with the use of my iphone. There’s so much that it can do that I never think to use it for. I sometimes jot lists down on the “notes” app, but then I never delete them, and yes, in case you were wondering, I have made the mistake of looking at an old list while shopping. I will definitely have to look into this app (and then work on remembering to use it). :-)

    • says

      Yeah, I’m pretty much on the cutting edge of all technology from 2007! 😉

      I always forget about the things I write in “notes” too. I just keep opening up new page after new page and never going back to look at the old pages or delete them. If you and Chris both start using the app, you might get hooked. It’s using it with David and being able to add to it/remove from it remotely that really takes it a step above just using an old envelope. :)

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