Grocery IQ: The Perfect Shopping List Companion

In this week’s Ask The Editor post, one of the questions we went over was from someone in search of a shopping list application that would sync lists between an iPhone and a computer. The app that I found as a solution was Grocery IQ and I liked it so much I thought it deserved a full review.

Today we’ll go over what Grocery IQ is and why it stands out as one of the best shopping lists applications on the App Store. If you ever take your iPhone shopping, you’ll want to keep reading!

Grocery IQ: On the Web

Today we’ll be focusing primarily on the iPhone version of Grocery IQ, but the web app is definitely an integral part of the experience and therefore definitely worth a mention.


Grocery IQ Online

Like the iPhone app, the Grocery IQ web service is free. It shares most of its features with the mobile app and is a superb tool for building shopping lists that can be printed or emailed. The kicker is that it also syncs with the iPhone version, allowing you to build your lists quickly on your computer (where you type much faster) and then access them when you’re in the store via your iPhone or iPad.

I definitely encourage you to stop by the site and sign up to see the service in action. Keep reading to see what awesome features you get with the iPhone version.

Creating Stores

When you open up the Grocery IQ iPhone app, you’ll be taken right into a list where you can add items that you need to purchase. This has a lot of features so we’ll cover it in the next section. First, we should discuss the intuitive system that Grocery IQ uses to manage lists.

Instead of creating multiple lists with random titles, Grocery IQ organizes your lists just like you would if you were writing items down on paper: by store. This system works perfectly because most shoppers in the U.S. like to hop around from store to store and buy very specific items at certain locations.


Creating stores

To manage your stores in Grocery IQ, simply navigate to the “Stores” tab and add in the places that you like to shop. You even have freedom over how aisles are arranged in a given store so that the app correctly organizes your items.

Once you have your stores all squared away (a one-time process), you can navigate to the “List” tab and start creating your shopping lists!

Shopping Lists

The default list for Grocery IQ is “Any Store”. This is a special list that allows you to quickly add in items without concern for where you will buy them. Any item added to this list will also appear in store-specific lists until it is checked off or deleted.


Tap the top of the list to change the store

At the top-center of the screen, you will see the store for which you are currently managing a list. To change stores, tap the title in the top-center of the screen. This will bring up the menu shown above on the right.

Notice in the screenshots above that my items are categorized by popular store isle categories. This is an automatic function that occurs as you add items to a list and it makes shopping much easier!

Adding Items to a List

There are multiple ways to add items to your list, all of which are streamlined to be very fast. Hit the plus button at the top right to add an item by typing in either the name or the barcode. Grocery IQ has an extremely smart auto-complete feature that contains tons of generic and name brand products. This is actually one of my favorite features as it saves you a significant amount of typing over the course of the list.


Adding list items

Notice the screen on the right above. After adding an item, you optionally edit a ton of attributes relating to it. This includes price, quantity, package size, etc. If you insert prices for items that you buy, Grocery IQ will automatically tally them up and tell you how much you’re spending.

Once you’re done shopping, you hit the “Checkout” button, which clears all of the items from your list so you can start fresh next time. You can also quickly add items that you find yourself buying a lot by taking advantage of the “Favorites” tab. Here you save frequent purchases by store and tap the little circle to add an item to your current list.


Adding Favorites

Scanning Barcodes

Another awesome way to add products to your list is by scanning barcodes. This allows you to easily look around your pantry or refrigerator and add in items that you’re running low on.


Scanning barcodes works great on most name brand products

The Grocery IQ barcode scanner works very quickly and either adds the item to your list or apologizes for the fact that no matching items were found. In my testing, I found that scanning anything with a familiar name brand works almost all the time without a single problem, even on random non-grocery items such as a pack of DVDs. However, off-brand items usually don’t work. For instance, with the two examples shown above, Grocery IQ found the Mountain Dew on the left (even the size) but not the generic jar of store brand peanut butter on the right.


One final feature of Grocery IQ is the “Coupons” tab. Here you can find two forms of deals on specific items. The first type is a simple coupon. Browse through the list, tap “Clip” on the coupons that you want, then email and/or print them. This works just like the system.


You can print coupons to bring into the store or add savings to your card

The second type of savings is very similar, only this time you add it right to your store shopper card. In the settings panel, you add in your various cards by number. Then when you find a deal you want to take advantage of, you just tap “Add to Card” and you will automatically save when you purchase the requisite products with your savings card.

Closing Thoughts

I use my iPhone as a shopping list all the time so I’ve tried several apps in this arena, many of which admittedly look nicer than Grocery IQ from an aesthetic point of view. However, I’ve never found a free app that can touch this in terms of functionality. As you’re using the app it really does feel like the developers have thought of everything, which is exactly what you want from an app with so many possible variables and features.

Further, despite the impressive feature set, the learning curve is really low and any time you could potentially be confused about something, up pops a little instruction screen to help you out. I’m personally super impressed with this app and will definitely be using it as my go-to shopping list solution.

Leave a comment below and let us know which shopping list apps you’ve tried and how they stack up to Grocery IQ. Which is your favorite app and why?


Grocery IQ is a feature-packed shopping list creator that allows you to create multiple lists and organize them by store, add items via typing or barcode, and access them in an online web view from any computer.