Simply make a shopping list and select your favorite grocery stores—Basket will tell you where these items are cheapest.

By Mike Pomranz
January 23, 2019
Getty: baona

Instead of clipping grocery circulars in local publications, shoppers are often looking for the best deals online—trading paper for a search bar. Which is why a new free app called Basket has been working to shift the grocery shopping paradigm the same way Waze changed the way people got traffic updates—by crowdsourcing user data. It just needs shoppers’ help to get there.

Basket was actually launched in 2016, but co-founder Andy Ellwood—who used to work for Waze, which likely explains how he got the idea of tracking the pricing of grocery store staples by having shoppers submit their grocery purchases into an app—recently spoke with Food Navigator about his project’s progress.

“At Basket, we can tell you what the price of your brand and competitive products is in this particular store in this particular street in Thousand Oaks, yesterday,” he explained. Ellwood says that over 800,000 people have downloaded the app, and about 100,000 are active users.

Though Ellwood admits that there are other ways to find deals at grocery stores, he suggests that what sets Basket apart is its ability to compare your entire shopping list at different stores to determine which option will result in the cheapest final bill.

Photo courtesy of Basket

He equates this feature to using a site like Kayak when booking for travel. “If I want to book a hotel room or a car, I can go online, and in moments, I can get the best deal locally,” he was quoted as saying. “Whereas if I want to buy a basket of groceries, my shopping list is about as useful as a printed of map…. We wanted to create a smart shopping list that was so useful to people that they feel it’s worth their while to contribute information to make it smarter.”

More on how to shop smart at your favorite grocery store: 

Of course, as good of an idea as Basket might be, it has two major variables: First, how good is the tech behind it, and second, how active is the crowdsourcing community. On Google Play, the Basket Savings app has a pretty poor 3.4 out of 5 star rating – suggesting that after two years, Basket is still trying to work out some of the kinks. Maybe the project is even too ambitious for its own good? Still, if you were the kind of person who didn’t mind flipping through a circular before, you probably wouldn’t mind at least trying scrolling through an app now.

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