Technology for the Well-Managed Kitchen


Product reviewed: hiku (device and app)

A tool for type-A kitchen managers and list-making fanatics alike, the hiku is a device/app combo that remembers your grocery list for you. Technology for the Well-Managed Kitchen - Although I’ve used apps to keep up with my kitchen inventory before, this was my first time using a physical device. 

The Device

The hiku fits neatly in your hand, and can be used in your kitchen or wherever you take it. With a brief set up, you’ll be easily adding items to your list in minutes by either scanning them or speaking their names directly into the device. The hiku beeps to confirm the addition. When you’re done, place the hiku on any surface and it powers down on its own — no fumbling with on/off buttons. You can even stick it to your refrigerator using the magnet on its side. 

The App

The hiku app is where the real action takes place. In it, there’s the option to create multiple shopping lists. Items are grouped in aisles, which can be edited to match a store's layout or line up with your personal preferences. If aisles aren’t your thing, hide them altogether. Share your list with friends and family with a simple click. Cross off items while walking through the supermarket or from wherever you are. The app also includes a battery meter that tells you how much juice your device has left — no pun intended — and recharging is a breeze with the included cord.  

Hiku aims to make listing and shopping easier. The app stores recent shopping list items for easy recall and offers a “get it now” button for ordering groceries directly via online retailers. This is where one of two downsides to the device/app come in. Unfortunately, the online grocer options are limited. It probably depends on geographical location, but I only had one choice. The other downside? If you're a brand fanatic, you might find that more obscure brands aren’t in the hiku database, and you’ll need to speak or manually type them. Whether you have the device or not, you can download the free hiku app from the Apple store or Google Play and use the shopping list feature to get a feel for the interface before buying or committing to the device.  

What Sets It Apart?

So, what's the difference between the hiku device/app combination and any of the many grocery list apps out there, including those that allow you to speak your list into your phone? I think the differentiator is hiku’s sleek design, interface, speed and connectedness. Using hiku to create a list is arguably faster than going through a mobile app — as the product site notes, "With a mobile app alone, every time you want to scan an item you have to find your phone, unlock it, find your app, launch it, tap add, choose scan, wait for the camera to load, focus on the barcode, and then wait for the results. With hiku you press one button and you're done." For some, that might be worth the extra money to spend on a device.    

Hiku is a small, attractive tool for organizing shopping lists, and it’s ideal for families and individuals who like to keep closer tabs on their kitchen inventory and share where that inventory is lacking.  

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Marisa Moore
Marisa Moore, MBA, RDN, LD, is based in Atlanta and specializes in culinary nutrition, communications and consulting. She blogs at Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.