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Review: Grocery iQ

February 21, 2010


If you are anything like me, going to the grocery store ranks at the top of the “Things I’d rather not do EVER” list. I hate going to the grocery, I totally despise it. Mostly because I’m never prepared to go, and when I get back I realize that there are critical items that I did not get. So, for the longest time now I’ve just avoided it all together and I either eat out or order in. Well, with the economy the way it is I have to cut out the expensive eating out business and develop a better way to do the grocery store thing. Basically, it's called sucking it up and being an adult about my budget.  First order of business is to learn how to create a grocery list.  I talked to a friend and they suggested making technology work for me and do something on my computer or my 3Gs. No need to twist my arm, so it was off to The App Store, which is where I found Grocery iQ. Grocery iQ is a grocery list creation app.  Admittedly Grocery iQ was my third purchase.  When I bought it in the summer of 2009 it wasn't associated with Coupons Inc.  At that time I felt Grocery iQ swooped in and saved my bacon so to speak.  But, since the buyout and the updates have things changed significantly?  Read on to find out.


Grocery IQ offers a wealth of features that make grocery shopping easy, effective, and frankly not so annoying. To make creating grocery lists a breeze Grocery iQ has:
  • UPC scanning – use the camera on your iPhone to add items to your grocery list
  • Multiple stores – set up lists for multiple stores
  • Auto-suggest – as you type Grocery iQ provides items it thinks you are looking to add
  • Favorites – use frequently used items to build lists
  • Database – over 130,000 built-in items
  • Organize by aisle – setup your lists by store so Grocery iQ can sort your items by aisle
  • List sync – shared lists will be automatically updated with your invited users
  • Email list – send lists to others
  • List/Coupon print - you can print lists and coupons for others using  WiFi
Each of the features mentioned above makes for a better shopping experience. My favorites features are UPC scanning, organization by aisle, and list sync. Without those features Grocery iQ would be a total bust.

The Breakdown

So, what’s the real deal with Grocery iQ? Let’s get to that in the breakdown, where I will go through the good and the bad of it all.

The Good

First off, Grocery iQ looks great and the  features in Grocery iQ are phenomenal. Grocery iQ has everything I ever wanted in a grocery list app. When they added the UPC scanning technology I was thrilled, because  I could build lists with a quickness, and that was "All Good." Plus, if you live in a household where you share shopping duties Grocery iQ makes it easy. Just make sure that the person you are sharing duties with has a copy of Grocery iQ on their device as well. When you sync the app all the items you have marked as purchased will be marked off the list "automagically" to the person you are sharing the duties with.   But if your delegates don't have Grocery iQ then don't fret, because you can print and email lists to them.

The Bad

I'm gonna go off on a tangent here, so bare with me.  The features in Grocery iQ are right on the money, so I won't go there, but I have to admit, I wasn’t happy when Grocery iQ hooked up with Coupons Inc. Wait, let me back up, I was livid with the whole Coupons Inc. thing because I couldn't turn it off. I know, I know, "Who wouldn't want to save money with coupons in this economy?" It isn't that I don't want to save, I just don't want the hassle, and I'd like it to be turned off or hidden. Now, don’t get me wrong, I bought Grocery iQ back in the day so I got my money’s worth out of it before Coupons Inc. got a hold of it, but I can’t figure out if getting the UPC scanning takes up for the Coupons Inc. buyout. You're probably thinking I need to get over it, right?  I just don't know if I can, I guess time will tell. I'd like to see an update that makes the coupon functionality less intrusive, and I'd love the ability to turn it off and on as I need it. I won't hold my breath waiting though, because Coupons Inc. owns Grocery iQ. Voila, there you have it, the main reason I'm having problems and feeling a little betrayed by the Grocery iQ buyout to Coupons Inc.

The Comparison

There is no shortage of grocery list apps, heck I've purchased three myself in my never ending quest for perfection. What I am finding as I browse The App Store is that each grocery app is just OK or mediocre on its own, but if they were to combine forces in some way, they would be freaking awesome. If you held me hostage and made me pick apps that give Grocery iQ a run for its money they would be Groceries - The Grocery Shopping list and Grocery Gadget. Both feature list sharing, rapid entry, and multiple lists. In fairness I have to report that Grocery Gadget has a relationship with Coupons Inc. as well.  The only huge drawback to the two competitors I mentioned is that they are more expensive than Grocery iQ. I think the increased cost for the competition has more to do with the fact that they haven't sold out to a huge corporate entity. With that said, none of the competition has the UPC scanning technology, which is the best feature in my opinion. So, to boil it down, you'd be paying more for the competition and missing out on the coolest feature. 

The Verdict

Grocery iQ does what it does well, and that is the only honest way to rate an app in my opinion.  I'm still conflicted people, because even though it does things well a bit of the shine is gone.  I've been going round and round in my head on this one for months. I bought three grocery apps over the past year or so. In the end Grocery iQ won a space on my iPhone over the other two grocery apps I'd already purchased. Then came the UPC scanning thing and I was happy until I realized they sold out to a corporate entity. Unfortunately however, I feel a little betrayed by the whole affair. Mainly because I didn't want a great app to be "hemmed up" by a corporate interest. Bottom line, Grocery iQ is only a buck and it includes the hottest feature going right now, UPC scanning. So I have to say that it is worth it to give Grocery iQ a try and see what you think. Good thing for you guys is that purchasing now gives you the opportunity to go into the Coupons Inc. relationship with your eyes wide open. Later, if it doesn't workout for you, then consider one of the other grocery list apps. From where I sit, I don't think I'll be deleting Grocery iQ from my 3Gs just yet because I did pay for it.  But, I'm always on the look out for something better without the giant corporate conglomerate chains. Before I leave you,  just a note of caution:  You may think I'm being petty, and you are probably right on that. However, if my guess is correct, then this is the beginning of a trend - and we could have a bit of trouble on our hands. I want developers to make money, that's why I buy apps, but I'd like for them to consider their customers when before selling their app to a larger entity /rant off.

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