I recently received e-mail from mygrocerydeals.com pitching their site:

We are a free service that allows consumers to go online, do their grocery pre-shopping based on advertised grocery flyer specials, look at nutritional information, create their shopping list, and then head out to their selected store(s) with list in hand. We have recently mapped 50,900 zip codes into our database and then lined up the grocery markets and local stores along 4,400 county lines to make a match.  So members really do see the deals in stores in their neighborhood only.

I get a lot of e-mails pitching products and services. I ignore most of these. But mygrocerydeals.com could be useful to frugal geeks. I spent a couple of hours this evening exploring the site. It’s new, and feels it, but it has a lot of promise.

The primary feature of mygrocerydeals.com is the ability to search all grocery flyers for a set of stores that you specify. You provide a zip code and designate preferred stores — the site combs its database for the current specials in your area. For example, if I want to see whether canned chili is on sale, I simply type ‘chili’ into a search box. Voila! My local Albertson’s is selling Stagg chili at ten cans for $10. How about Bisquick, which is on our shopping list for tomorrow? Safeway has 40 oz. boxes on sale at two for $5.

(Kris watched me use this section. She was nonplused. “That’s what I get flyers for,” she said. “This takes the place of flyers,” I told her. “You just type in ‘Bisquick’, and you can find out if it’s on sale.” “But I like looking through the flyer,” she said. “I like seeing that bananas are on sale and saying to myself, ‘Oh, I think I’ll get some bananas.’ This seems like it’s too much work.” While mygrocerydeals.com doesn’t provide exactly the same experience as browsing a flyer, it is possible to “skim” the specials, browsing them in a way similar to how you’d use a paper flyer.)

As you locate interesting specials, you can add them to shopping lists. You can also use the list-maker to search for foods by category. Lists you create can be e-mailed, printed, or saved for future use.

Mygrocerydeals.com also features a coupon section, but it needs work. To use it, you must install a browser plugin. (On a Mac, this plugin does not work with Firefox — only Safari.) This makes me nervous. Nothing about mygrocerydeals.com actually caused any problems, but I’m distrustful of sites that ask me to install plugins. Once the coupon module has been installed, nearly 100 coupons are available. (Not a huge number, but worth looking.) But there’s no way to search except by browsing the seemingly random collection. I suspect the coupon section will improve as the site matures.

Nutrition Info
My favorite section of the site is “Nutri-Know”, a comprehensive database of nutrition information for food. I’ve tried a lot of different web sites to find nutrition information, and none are as complete as this. Again, though, it’s not perfect. This section seems to be in development, too. Not every listed product includes nutrition information. (There’s always a link for nutrition info, even if none is actually available.) If an item includes an image, it’s much more likely to include nutritional information. I’ll probably return to mygrocerydeals.com simply to use this feature!

The site features a “recipe corner” with “weekly ideas for thrifty chefs in a hurry”. This is a fine idea, but the implementation is poor. Right now there are exactly three recipes: fiesta tacos, banana milk shakes, and brocco nachos. Each is sponsored by a manufacturer. This recipe area feels very incomplete. It would take very little effort to improve it.

I worried that mygrocerydeals.com was going to be a scammy, adware site. It’s not.

We want all grocery shoppers to save time and money! Rest assured that the flyer deals are unbiased. We are not affiliated with any manufacturer or retailer. The flyer deal information is obtained independently with our own proprietary system. As a result of being independent, we rely on our users to be our eyes and ears. Users can contact us at anytime to provide suggestions, ideas, corrections or with just a question.

Mygrocerydeals.com has great potential. Even Business Week was impressed. It’s a new site, still in development — there’s hope that the weak spots will be improved.

Frugal shoppers may want to give this free service a whirl.

[Disclosure: I received no compensation for this review.]

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