Food Apps: Just a fad?

December 15, 2009

Absolutely not! Shoppers want convenience at the tap of a finger, and now that Apple reports over 85,000 apps available for the iPhone the cute gimmick has gone mainstream.

Absolutely not! Shoppers want convenience at the tap of a finger, and now that Apple reports over 85,000 apps available for the iPhone the cute gimmick has gone mainstream. Applications can assist, inspire and inform customers, consumers and businesses on many levels; whether it’s shopping for the weekly groceries, deciding what to prepare for dinner, where to eat, how to avoid allergens, how to save money, make environmentally friendly decisions and get insiders opinions, apps are informing many of our everyday decisions at point of sale.

Some are based on social networks offering reviews from fellow shoppers and diners, while others are offered from companies or organizations – some with bias, and some with none.

Here are just a handful, which hopefully will motivate you to visit iTunes yourself both to discover and download as well as to invent your own:

Grocery IQ, $0.99: “Save time and money while avoiding the headache of grocery shopping.” Grocery IQ’s 130,000 item database is designed to assist in making shopping lists. They say that it is shopping made sensible. You can make and store and email lists, review shopping history, specify quantity and container size, make notes, organize list by aisle, and check items off as you shop.

iEatOut Gluten & Allergen Free, $8.99: “Eat out confidently and safely in restaurants with celiac and or other allergies.” You can quickly view meal choices by cuisine, ingredients and questions to ask staff based on allergy concerns. Information on 10 common food allergens can searched alone or combined- corn, dairy, eggs, fish, gluten, peanuts, shellfish, soy, tree nuts and wheat. Cuisines include: Chinese, French, Indian, Italian, Mexican, Steak/ Seafood and Thai. iEatOut allows subscribers to explore over 150 color coded menu items to identify what is allergy safe, discover ingredients and food prep techniques as well as other common allergy concerns. Food allergies can cause a lot of anxiety when eating out and this app allows users to feel safe and anxiety free when eating out. 

iFood Assistant from Kraft, $0.99: Get ideas for tonight’s dinner, daily recipes, browse database of over 7,000 recipes, search within your budget, locate your nearest grocery store and get instant directions, navigate aisles based on personal shopping lists, and view how to videos. iFood Assistant acts as more of an overall shopping assistant, streamlining the shopping and food preparation experience, and makes grocery trips more efficient. Users can review comments on recipes and share their cooking ideas with others.

Seafood Guide, Free: “The official seafood watch recommendations to help you make sustainable seafood choices quickly and easily, whether you’re eating at your favorite restaurant or sushi joint, or shopping at your local market. And at a time when the world’s oceans are severely over-fished, your seafood choices make a big difference.” The app was created by Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program and features regional guides- so you can see what seafood is best in each area of country, and a sushi guide which lists both English and Japanese names of fish. 

Yelp, Free: App users can search for nearby businesses including bars, restaurants, cafes, etc., access phone numbers, and maps, view customer reviews, add quick tips and photos to reviews, and draft personal reviews in real time. Yelp users have instant access to business reviews from, “an active community of locals in the know,” and who doesn’t want that?

These are just a few and certainly prove handy for those who have app friendly phones and devices. What app can you dream up to help YOUR shoppers?