One of the great things about working on a website about kitchen gadgets is that you get to play with the latest technological innovations of the world and call it “work”. Case in point: for several months now we have been playing around with the Hiku. It is a small device that allows you to more easily create your grocery lists.
‘I can already do that with my phone’ I can hear you say.
Yes, you can use your smartphone to do anything you could do with a Hiku, but the advantage of using a Hiku is that it can always be ready at hand in the kitchen when you need it, whereas the phone is always either in another room, or in a pocket. Plus with a smartphone you need to start some app, and while that it is easy enough, it should be noted that the new version of the Hiku is only $49, so it’s not that big of an investment. And there are several other features that made us fall in love with it over the course of the past months.
The Hiku looks a lot like one of those classic, round kitchen timers for your eggs, except that it has a more futuristic design, obviously, with a big silver button on top of an Apple white background. It is not really round since the bottom part has been shaved of so you can set it down on a kitchen counter. The best thing about the Hiku, from a design stand point, is that it is water and crumbs proof. So you do not have to worry about spilling milk on any types of liquids on it, plus it does not really care how steamy the kitchen gets if you start making some soup.
The best thing about the Hiku though, is in the way it works. You can pick it up and just speak into it, telling it what you need to buy when next you get to the market. For us it was a great reminder when we decided to cook some new and fancy dinner, and, we were sure we would forget to buy one ingredient or another. For the “eat only” members of the family, the scanning function was great, because they would scan the bar code on their favorite cereal and such so as to make sure that they would get the same great product. The Hiku then connects to the internet and keeps continuously updated a shopping list that is easily accessed through an app that you can install on any number of phones. So, in principal, if you were in a hurry you could also split the shopping chores among several members of the family and just go through the whole process that much faster; that is an option we have never used, but it is there.
The new thing that the Hiku brings with their second edition device, we have been testing a first generation one, is the integration with Walmart and Peapod. So, if you leave in any of the 24 states where Walmart and/or Peapod are offering this service, you can just get on your phone, order everything online and then you get the choice of either picking everything up from the store, only that it will be neatly bagged for you. The real advantage though is that you can order those groceries to be delivered straight to your door. This new feature is actually already available for people in certain countries in Europe – France and UK being the most noted presences there – and in Australia. So if you live in anyone of those countries make sure to hit the comment section and let us know how everything is shaping up for you.
Hiku, the manufacturer, is planning to extend their offer of online stores with as many shops as they can get. You would think every major retailer could avail themselves of this function, but it seems they are among the last businesses in America to join the 21st century. So, basically, the technology is there from the Hiku part, and the stores are interested in joining, but they do not have the necessary technological setup. However, if they are to survive, they will need to focus more and more on the online shopping experience they can provide. Even before that happens, Hiku has a major store and product data base that it can access to offer you suggestions about other potential stores that you may want to consult if Walmart, Peapod, and whatever other store may join them in the meanwhile does not have what you are looking for.
So, the bottom line is the price point. We can promise you that you will get to a point where it will be very difficult for you to understand how you have ever managed without the Hiku or without a similar device. 50 bucks seems more than fair, considering that you are buying lifetime access to a service and a very comprehensive data base, and not just a device.