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Curb Your App-etite

9 Apps That Bend The Grocery Store To Your Will

A study released last year found that 54 percent of men now shop for groceries more often than their spouses (the wives of the other 46 percent, presumably, are none too pleased with them). Still, whether you’re a Master Grocer or still fumbling your way through aisles with your face glued to a list, there are apps out there that help you organize, execute and save money on every trip to the store. Here are 8 that consistently rate high on Google and iTunes, and are well reviewed by leading tech sites — except for the one by Meat And Livestock Australia, but when it comes to identifying cuts of meat, it’s best not to argue with an Australian.

CookSmarts: $72 per year or $8 per month

How It Works: Creates week-long family meal plan and organizes it into a downloadable grocery list complete with nutrition facts, plus recipes with instructional videos.

What’s Awesome: Plans are customizable to suit your family size and can even accommodate most of the weird diets your wife is trying to foist on you (or you on her). The site’s community is also large, active and helpful.

What’s Less Awesome: $72 bucks a year is nothing to sneeze at. Also, “app” is a bit of a misnomer here, as CookSmarts is browser-based and doesn’t have a standalone app yet.

Grocery iQ: Free (iOS) (Android)

How It Works: A robust list organizer with the ability to create master lists plus list by store, which it then can organize by category and even store aisle. The app also surfaces relevant coupons on the go.

What’s Awesome: Multiple users can sync their lists, so you’ll never wind up with 2 gallons of milk but no eggs ever again. Identifies common purchases and creates “favorites” lists that auto-populate. New coupon freebies each week.

What’s Less Awesome: Creating lists by store is a cool function, but you can’t transfer lists from store-to-store, so stopping at a different chain for the first time means rebuilding a saved list from scratch.

Meat Cuts: Free (iOS) (Android)

How It Works: Demystifies the butcher counter by identifying every cut from cows, lambs and goats, and includes best methods for cooking each.

What’s Awesome: In addition to cooking methods, the app provides full recipes and also recommends alternative cuts if what you’re looking for isn’t available.

What’s Less Awesome: Real men know their way around the butcher counter already; slightly less real men rely on an app for that.

Harvest: $1.99 (iOS)

How It Works: Provides tips on how to select the freshest produce, as well as pesticide information for all common fruits and vegetables.

What’s Awesome: Shows you what’s grown in your region, so you can get the freshest of the fresh and support local farms at the same time. Explains how to store everything so you don’t accidentally serve flaccid salads at your next dinner party.

What’s Less Awesome: No recipes or preparation tips. Imagery is limited, so don’t expect a visual education on the physical differences between dukus and marulas.

Snap By Groupon: Free (iOS) (Android)

How It Works: Partners with popular brands to provide cash back when you buy certain products. Photograph your receipt after shopping and, for every $20 in savings you earn, Groupon puts money in your account.

What’s Awesome: Coupon-like savings without any coupon-like hassles. Since the deals are by brand, they work at any grocery store, including that sketchy convenience store down the street.

What’s Less Awesome: Requires you to get your act together beforehand, so you know what products are currently on offer and can shop accordingly.

SavingStar: Free (iOS) (Android)

How It Works: Similar to Snap, but works through your loyalty cards at major retailers. When you select coupons, they’re forwarded directly to your card and activated at checkout.

What’s Awesome: Money is transferred to your account after just $5 in savings. Freebie coupons are issued every weekend and everyone likes free stuff. Works at 24,000 major grocery store and drug store chains.

What’s Less Awesome: Requires even more pre-shopping organization than Snap, since you have to select all the coupons before checkout. Customer reviews suggest you should hang on to your receipts because verification disputes happen occasionally.

InstaCart: Delivery fees starting at $4 (iOS) (Android)

Where It’s Available: Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Boulder, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Portland OR, San Francisco Bay Area, San Jose, Seattle and Washington D.C.

What’s Awesome: Groceries delivered within 1 hour; booze delivery also available in most cities. The favorites list makes routine reordering routine-ier. No order is too quirky — want 3 ripe bananas and 4 green ones? Done.

What’s Less Awesome: Product prices differ from what they are in the store and can include a notable premium, which you may not notice because they just delivered you booze.

Peapod: Free (iOS) (Android)

Where It’s Available: Chicago Area, Milwaukee, Southeast Wisconsin, Indianapolis, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Southern New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Southeast Pennsylvania

What’s Awesome: “Guess My Order” fills out a grocery list for you based on past choices. “Weekly Specials” offers thousands of deals every week and “My Specials” shows only deals related to past purchases.

What’s Less Awesome: App glitch complaints abound. Delivery leaves boxes that must be returned, and scheduling box returns can only be done via phone. Please hold as we are experiencing high call volume.

AmazonFresh: $299 annual fee (iOS) (Android)

Where It’s Available: New York City, Seattle, Philadelphia, major California metropolitan areas.

What’s Awesome: Free same-day delivery. Delivers booze. With over 100,000 items available, it’s effectively the largest grocery store in the world. Orders can include non-grocery items off Amazon’s top 1,000 list. Very competitive pricing.

What’s Less Awesome: You probably save money if you use it correctly, but the $299 annual fee still stings. Plus, you’ll be partly to blame when Jeff Bezos takes over the world.

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