As a working mom with two small children, keeping track of what goes into my pantry and my kids’ mouths can be an overwhelming task. I want to feed my kids healthy foods; however, deceptive or misleading labeling practices often leave me confounded, especially as I struggle to read the tiny print of nutrition labels while holding onto a three year-old who wants to run and a seven year-old who wants to play kamikaze grocery cart. Does the “all natural” claim mean that the ingredients were grown naturally and minimally processed? Or do I have to buy the “certified organic” product to ensure its quality? Is it more important to buy “free range” or organic? “Cruelty-free,” or “locally produced”? If a product contains aspartame, is it safe for my kids? How much sugar is too much? These are just a few of the questions I find myself obsessing over as I push my kids and the cart up and down the aisles of my local grocery store. Sound familiar?
Brief overview of Zeer.com
Zeer.com may not be the answer to all of your grocery-shopping prayers, but for busy moms and fickle foodies, the new online food review and social networking site comes close. Self-described as a “grocery product community,” the site allows curious shoppers to access unbiased product nutrition information and consumer feedback on packaged goods. It also provides a group-based forum where you can discuss food allergies, nutrition, tastes, diet, recipes, and other food-related facts or fables with like-minded consumers.
Not only can you create and browse through grocery lists tailored exclusively to your preferences, you can also compare nutritional facts and notes with other people who have purchased the product in the past. On-hand food “experts” are ready to tackle your toughest grocery-related questions, and once you’ve made your selections and created a shopping list, you can print it out or access it from your mobile phone while at the store. Cool, right? No more missed items or guesswork.
Features and benefits
Here’s a rundown of the cool things you can do with Zeer.com:
- Get food reviews: read product ratings, reviews, and discussions; view ingredients; research nutrition facts; and search for product reviews by nutrients, calories, food-specific communities (e.g., people with food allergies), and other search criteria.
- Get organized: create and maintain various types of lists — grocery list, want list, favorites list, inventory list, and to-review list.
- Join communities: join food-specific communities (e.g., snack lovers), and get advice from and share your food-related interests with like-minded consumers.
- Share advice: rate products (1 to 5 stars), write reviews, earn points, start discussions on food-related topics, and vote products up (“love it”) or down (“hate it”).
- Go mobile: access food reviews, ratings, and your personalized lists via your mobile phone at m.zeer.com.
By giving you the ability to research product information and crowdsource consumer opinions, Zeer.com helps you save money by reducing the amount of food you and your family waste. The groceries you buy will more likely get eaten instead of languishing in a dusty box in the back of your pantry or growing fuzz in your refrigerator. It also helps you save time by allowing you to create lists electronically and access them via your mobile phone while at the grocery store. (Especially useful if happen to forget your list at home.) And, perhaps most importantly, Zeer.com helps you and your family eat healthier by giving you the tools you need to make healthy food choices.
Things Zeer.com could do to make my life even easier
There are a few features, however, that Zeer.com could implement to make the site even more useful:
- Provide nutritional information on processed goods (like meat, vegetables, and fish). (To get this information, I have to go to NutritionData.)
- Provide information on the amount of energy that went into producing the product.
- Allow me to crowdsource my diet, from soliciting recommendations for specific grocery items to full recipes.
- Allow me to price-compare the items on my list with other, similar items available in my area. (This would make the site invaluable to my grocery-shopping experience.)
- Offer grocery list integration with online grocers such as Peapod and Netgrocer so I don’t have to maintain multiple grocery lists online. Right now, for example, if I want to copy my list over from Peapod to Zeer.com, I have to do it manually.
- Deliver contextual coupons for the grocery items on my list so that I can redeem them online or in-store (similar to Qponix).
- Send me a reminder email that would prompt me to check the status of my milk, cereal, flour, or sugar supply each week.
What do you think?
Overall, I found Zeer.com useful, fun, and informative, as it currently stands. With a few tweaks, however, it could become my weekly Internet destination and a true asset to my household and budget management. Take a look yourself, and let me know what you think. Are there features that you’d like to see integrated into this site? What are they?
Image credit: sjlocke / iStockphoto