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Search Tips

Using the Search Tool

 
When entering a search request with multiple words, do not use '+' or "" (quotes) between or around them. The Search tool uses the following three parameters instead:
  • All words- This is the default. It is equivalent to using '+' sign between words in Google search. It finds items with all search words entered (but not necessarily in order...see 'exact phrase' below). Usually yields the best results unless you know the exact item number or description.

  • Any word- Same as typing words with spaces between them in Google search. Finds all items with any of the search words entered. This usually yields more results than needed and requires more time to manually sort through. Use the other two options whenever feasible.

  • Exact phrase- Same as enclosing search in quotes in Google search. As the name implies this yields exact results, best used if you know the precise item number or description.

Almost all of the products on our site have straightforward descriptions and are easy to find. The best way we've found is (if possible) enter the brand name and one other key word. This keeps the list short enough to easily scan through, yet not so exact that you get no results.

The product manufacturers provide the descriptions, and they don't always think like we do. So if you are having any issues finding items, you can try the suggestions below. If you are still having problems, please contact us, we're here to help.

First, let's look at a couple of examples:

1. Horizon Lowfat Cottage Cheese

If you entered 'horizon lowfat cottage cheese' you would get 0 results. Why? Because the manufacturer decided to abbreviate 'Lowfat" to 'LF'. So, if you just enter 'horizon cottage' it returns 2 results: the regular and lowfat. You add the lowfat version to your Grocery List and move on to your next item.

2. Annie's Macaroni & Cheese

You enter 'annie's macaroni & cheese', just like it reads on the box. You get 0 results because in the manufacturer's description the apostrophe in 'annie's' is deleted and 'macaroni' is abbreviated 'mac'. So the ideal search words would probably be something like 'annie mac cheese', or even just 'annie mac'.

So, a more specific description will save time by yielding more specific results, to a point. If your search returns 0 results try making the description, or one or more of the words, shorter (but don't use wildcards...see below). The more symbols, punctuation, etc. you leave out, the more accurate your search will be. So remember: When in doubt, leave it out!

Wildcards such as * and ? are not recognized. Simply enter a fragment of the word you are searching for. For example, if you are looking for a drink that you think is either 'Tropical Passion' or 'Passionate Tropics', enter 'tropic passion' and all items with those two fragments will be found.

Using Advanced Search

You can search by category and price by clicking Advanced Search. For example, let's say you want to find bulk almonds. If you put 'almonds' in the standard search box, it will return 64 results (all products with the word 'almonds').

If you click Advanced Search and type 'almonds' in the 'Search For:' box, then choose 'Bulk Foods' from the 'Search in Category:' list, you'll get 27 items, all of which are bulk almonds.

You can also use this to quickly find monthly specials (which are displayed in red whenever you search) of a particular item type. Let's say you want to find any brand paper towels on sale. Enter 'paper towel' in the 'Search For:' box, then choose 'Monthly Specials' from the 'Search in Category:'.
Note that if you have used United or MPW item numbers before, you can search by the 5-digit code. When searching codes with leading zeros, the zeros must be left off (e.g., code 00110 must be searched as 110).
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