ShopJam Helps You Find The Cheapest Groceries

Image: ShopJam

Many of us live in close proximity to more than one supermarket. But working out which has the best deals for your regular shop can be a pain. Even though there are catalogs released each week, it's still a challenge to work out where to get the best deal. ShopJam aims to change that by helping you find the cheapest options for groceries.

ShopJam lets you store a shopping list - you can add items manually or by scanning barcodes - which it then analyses to find the best prices.

To test it out, I installed the app to my iPhone and gave the app access to my camera for scanning barcodes and location data for finding the closest supermarkets. It also works with Siri for adding items to either existing or new shopping lists. The app only works with Coles and Woolworths - there's no support for Aldi or IGA.

I randomly scanned a bunch of times from my fridge and pantry. The first item I scanned was a 3-litre bottle of Woolworth's-branded milk. But the app didn't have that item in its database. But the other 16 items I scanned, including house brands and other products were all scanned successfully other than some things from CostCo.

Although I have a Woolworths within walking distance a nearby shopping centre has both Coles and Woolworths stores so I set those as my home supermarkets. With my list of 16 items, splitting my shop between the two would save me about $3.00. But on my usual shop, of about 30 or so items, I'd expect that to be enough to justify the extra time it would take to go to two stores.

When the app puts the shopping list together, it splits the items by store and aisle number so it's easy to browse and collect Items. And shopping lists can be shared with other family members so you can send one person to the other store while you go to the first one, saving you some time.

The one thing that I found frustrating was that the app didn't help on house brands or product variants that are supermarket specific. For example, I scanned a 15-pack of Uncle Toby's muesli bars which came from Woolworths. Coles stocks the same product but in a differently sized box. But the app couldn't tell me which store offered the best value. That is, which store offered the cheapest per bar price. Nor could it help me with meat.

I scanned a 1kg packet of mince from one supermarket and it couldn't tell me if I could get it cheaper from the other store. I understand that is because they have different barcodes but some extra intelligence would make this app far more useful.

Still, if you have the convenience of both Woolworths and Coles close by, there are some savings to be made.

The app is free and is available for iOS and Android.

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