Crowdsourced Groceries

We had another smartphone app that we’ve been trying to get just right before putting it up. I don’t know that it’s there yet, but hopefully someone can pick it up and run with it:

Crowdsourced Groceries would let you create a grocery list on your phone, just like many other apps. This one, though, would know your home address and the address of your local grocery store, as well as your route to get there. With that knowledge, it would tell you what others along your route and close to your home want to get from the store and how much they would pay someone to bring it to them. When you say you’ll pick up their groceries, their list will be taken down from the public domain and they’ll get a email telling them who will be bringing their groceries. Of course, if no one offers to pick them up, they can always claim their list and maybe some others to earn a little extra from a normal trip to the store.

Primary targets:

1. The elderly and disabled generally have a difficult time going shopping, but spend much of their time at home. This would make it easy for them to crowdsource the shopping and be available when the groceries arrive on their doorstep.
2. People who are too busy to get to the store before it closes and just need a few things until they can make their next trip.
3. The food deserts that are the focus of American health initiatives could be irrigated by people within these communities who can take the time to go to the nearest store and bring back fresh foods for their neighbors.

Secondary targets:
1. Students looking to make a few extra dollars on the side.
2. People who want to help the elderly or disabled in their communities but don’t have time to volunteer for programs like Meals on Wheels.

We haven’t submitted this one anywhere because we can still see a few problems with it: 1) What if the person isn’t home to receive the groceries? 2) How do you ensure the safety of the recipient? 3) Are these even issues that need to be addressed by the app? We think this could be a great way to help build camaraderie in a community and serve a public need when it comes to the elderly and bringing fresh foods to neighborhoods without a lot of grocery stores. If you can make it happen, please cite us and steal it!


About Jack Eby

Biomedical engineer and avid marathoner.
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