Express lanes are so yesterday. Self-checkout kiosks have come and gone. The future of grocery shopping, it seems, is already happening on your phone.
Here are five apps creating the food shopping experiences of the future – here in the present.
The plant-based planner: 22 Days Nutrition
A joint venture from Beyonce, Jay-Z and The 22 Day Revolution author Marco Borges, this meal-planning app is the biggest thing to happen to vegans since the veggie burger. Users select meals from thousands of plant-based recipes, and after confirming portion sizes and the number of diners who will be indulging for the week, 22 Days puts together your entire shopping list for the week.
But that’s not even the app’s most innovative function. Integrations with grocery-delivery companies Instacart and Peapod (and soon enough, Amazon Fresh) make it possible to have everything you need for the week delivered straight to your doorstep. You don’t need to be a vegan to appreciate just how easy grocery shopping for the week is with 22 Days.
The pitstop: Target Drive Up
If you’re the kind of shopper who likes to get in and out with a cartful of staples in the shortest amount of time possible, Target has just the lifehack for you. Simply add your order to the Target app, and your local store will message you in about an hour when your groceries are ready for pickup.
Hit the “I’m on the way” button in the app when you’re headed over, and park in one of the lot’s newly designated Drive Up spots. A Target employee will ferry your groceries out to you in less than two minutes. More than 270 Target stores across most of the South – including Texas and Florida – along with Minneapolis, which tested the pilot program, have rolled out Drive Up to great fanfare.
The cashback king: Ibotta
Spending about 3 to 5 minutes on the Ibotta app can save you some serious cash. Simply browse through the deals posted for your local grocery store – there are a ton – and add ones for the items you’re already planning on buying.
After you check out at the store, scan the barcode at the bottom of your receipt into the Ibotta app, and get cash back deposited within two days. The thing that elevates Ibotta beyond countless other coupon apps is the wide umbrella cast for many of the deals. Earn a dollar back for buying any carton of eggs, or 50 cents for buying any brand of bananas. Funds are deposited when you hit thresholds like $20 in savings, which is easy to do with such a wide range of deals.
The educator: Fooducate
Cut through the endless marketing speak in your grocery store with this versatile app that combines health and calorie tracking with community discussion and recipe options. Fooducate packs quite a punch within the confines of your smartphone screen, but the killer feature has got to be the letter grades it gives out to individual products.
Nutritional information for more than 250,000 products are disseminated down into an easy-to-digest grade based on the nutritional content. Simply scan the barcode of a few seemingly identical boxes in the cereal aisle to discover which products are actually good for you, and which are just splashing things like “made with whole grain” or “naturally flavored” on the front to distract you from the unhealthy contents within.
The seasonal specialist: Seasonal Food Guide
Seasonal produce grown close to home is packed with loads more nutritional content on account of the fact that it is harvested at the height of ripeness because it doesn’t need to spend time traversing the globe in refrigerated shipping containers.
The Seasonal Food Guide app lets you easily view which foods are in season in each of the 50 states. Backed by data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and individual state departments of agriculture, this app keeps you constantly up to date on which foods you should be eating, and which you should be passing over until a local option is back in season.