Publix vs Kroger – The Great Debate

Here in Atlanta, our main grocery stores are Publix and Kroger. It seems like everyone that I talk to has a strong opinion about which is better. I, on the other hand, don’t. I go to both and I think that they each have their strengths and weeknesses (that’s a word, right? Mars Edit doesn’t recognize it.). I can’t decide which I like better so I thought I’d do a little comparison of the two and what I’ve noticed about each of them. This just applies to the Publix and Kroger that are closest to my house.

Closest – Kroger is a little bit closer but Publix isn’t far. I would have to drive past Kroger to get to Publix. (Kroger wins)

Store Hours – Kroger is open 24 hours. Publix is open until 10 or 11. (Kroger wins)

Parking Lot – The Kroger parking lot drives me crazy. There’s a Walmart in the same shopping center and there are tons of people. The Publix parking lot is calmer. (Publix wins)

Niceness of store – The Kroger by me is a pretty average Kroger. I’ve seen way nicer and I’ve seen way worse. Publix is generally the same from store to store. Publix is a nicer store. (Publix wins)

Friendliness of employees – Publix wins by a landslide here. Some of the Kroger employees are nice, but I have had a lot of run ins with disgruntled check out cashiers. Plus, sometimes the baggers run away and I feel like I have to bag my groceries myself because the cashier sure isn’t doing it. (Publix wins)

Price – Now both grocery stores claim to be cheaper. I find that generally Kroger is less expensive, however there are certain items that you can get for less at Publix, which I will get into in a minute. Publix also sends us a $5 off coupon in the mail every week but I think Kroger is still cheaper. (Kroger wins)

Pre-packaged food – I sometimes go to Publix to pick up lunch because they have a lot of pre-packaged salads and fruit bowls. Kroger does not. Also, Publix has better sushi. (Publix wins)

Deli/Salad Bar – While some Krogers have a salad bar, most Publix’s (Publi?) do and although it’s no Whole Foods, it’ll do in a pinch. They also have good subs. (Publix wins)

Natural Food section – Publix and Kroger have different set ups when it comes to “natural foods”. Kroger has a separate section for them and Publix tries to integrate them into the aisle. While I understand the rational for putting the organic tomato sauces with the regular, having certain products in a separate section makes them easier to find. There have been many times when I’ve had trouble finding something “natural” at Publix and had to ask an employee. Tofu that isn’t refrigerated comes to mind. My specific Kroger has a rather large natural foods section, although not all of them do. (Kroger wins)

Chobani – For some reason, Publix has a much better selection of Chobani yogurt than Kroger does. Kroger has some flavors but Publix has them all. (Publix wins)

La Tortilla – These are my favorite tortillas and they are MUCH cheaper at Publix. I think they are $2.99 there and $4.99 at Kroger! (Publix wins)

Frozen Pizza – Publix brand frozen pizza rocks. Seriously, look at all these veggies. That’s pretty impressive for a frozen pizza, I think.


Plus, you could eat the entire thing for 570 calories. (Publix wins)

Funny signs – I’ve only seen this in my Kroger, but it cracks me up every time. Wonder what’s in this aisle? (Kroger wins)


So the grand total is 5 for Kroger and 8 for Publix which would make it sound like Publix is the better store, but some of these categories are not equal. You can’t compare price to Chobani yogurt selection! I still can’t decide, so I guess I’ll do what I do now: go to both.

What’s your favorite grocery store?

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62 Responses to Publix vs Kroger – The Great Debate

  1. PUBLIXXXXXXXX for every day needs. TJs obviously rocks too.

  2. I go to three grocery stores on a regular basis because there are pros and cons of each. Sometimes I’ll go to all three in one day! I’m crazy (but they are all near each other, if that’s an excuse).

  3. We don’t have Publix OR Kroger near me, but now I really want that pizza. Can’t believe the whole thing is under 600 calories!!!

  4. I have this same dilemma in choosing between Kroger and Publix. I prefer Kroger’s lower prices and separate natural foods section hands down, but I do like the more clean and modern look of Publix and their fresh bread is sooooo much better. I’ve thought about writing to Kroger’s headquarters before and letting them know that I would probably stop shopping at Publix altogether if Kroger’s bread wasn’t so terrible.

  5. I’m like you and go to both both. I do the bulk of my shopping at Publix. I think I do better there since their coupon policy is so generous. Overall the meat/seafood is better quality too.

    I go to Kroger for produce and dairy since it’s usually cheaper there.

  6. I choose Publix simply due to freshness. It seems like a lot of items at Kroger are expired or very close to their expiration dates.

    They should get bonus points for the Cookies and Cookies sign though. :)

  7. Love Publix (friendlier – almost too firendly, cleaner)… They do have some good buy one get one sales but Kroger is cheaper in my opinion. I noticed that about the Chobani too. Weird that Kroger only has a few flavors.

  8. From your analysis, it sounds like Publix is the way to go! I’ve never been to one. I love Wegman’s a little too much.

  9. We don’t have either of those here, but I’ve always wanted to try a Publix. I alternate between Trader Joe’s, Harris Teeter and Giant. TJ’s is my favorite, but I can’t always get everything there. HT is closest to me, but more expensive, although they have the best non-WF salad bar. I go to Giant for big grocery trips when I know I’ll need a lot of condiments or other items that I may not be able to find at TJ’s and I’ll walk to Harris Teeter if I just need a few things to make a recipe.

  10. oh boy, when i lived in FL I was in LOVE with Publix because it was so much better than any normal grocery store in CA. But CA does have TJ’s, Henry’s Marketplace, Sprouts and WF so I guess I can’t complain because the first three are like WF but way cheaper!

  11. I’m most loyal to Kroger but will certainly shop Publix too for their BOGO deals…and Chobani. Love that you have a category all its own for Chobani. LOL

    And that sign cracks me up. I can’t believe that is their aisle description!

  12. Publix has always been my favorite grocery store, but I miss Kroger. Publix is the only option (other than Walmart and couple of, um, trashy places) for grocery shopping where I live now. I’ve also been known to write sonnets about how much I miss Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, though when I drive to Tallahassee I will pop in to the Fresh Market there.

  13. I have the hardest time with grocery stores. I desperately want to be able to go to just one, but instead I have to go to 4 in order to get everything I need at a great price. I go to Dorothy Lane Market, which is a local version of Whole Foods. Great store, but some of their prices are outrageous. I also go to Kroger; they actually have a great organic produce section and for much, much cheaper. They don’t have the brand of cheese I like though. I also go to TJ’s as they have the cheapest PB and AB and frozen fruit. Then I have to go to the health food store because none of the above stores carries nutritional yeast or a few other random things I need. Not sure why I just rambled on in your comment section, but I’ve been thinking about the absurdity of this lately!!

  14. Better sushi = winner. That’s an awesome aisle sign.

  15. I preferred Kroger in my ATL days…usually the one in Decatur by Tires Plus. When I was in Midtown, they were closer together in the Ansley area and I picked Kroger. I also liked the gas discount at the Decatur Kroger. Here, in central PA, I usually do Weis which is a smaller chain. There’s a Wegmanns a bit further…too far and a bit pricey for regular stuff but TERRIFIC for pre-made stuff or pop-in-the-oven style…and they have a private line of ice cream including PEANUT BUTTER & JELLY!

    Oh, and I’ll be a dork and say it’s “weakness”….only ’cause you sorta asked.

  16. I meant it is EA versus EE

  17. I noticed it in the reply too. At least you are consistent 😛

  18. I go to Giant, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s. I spend money on fresh produce and I’ve found that WF has the best selection of fresh produce that doesn’t go bad in two seconds.

    Sometimes I wish lived back in the day when there weren’t any grocery stores. And everything would be fresh and organic.

  19. Publix is so freaking expensive! I never used to shop there!

    I do my shopping at Sprouts, WF, and SuperTarget. WF for the gourmet stuff, Sprouts for organic essentials, and Target for everything else. It works for me.

  20. I’ve never been to Publix!!!! I live in Texas and we have HEB, which I like a lot better than other grocery stores because they have free recipe cards, tons of samples, and extensive health food sections. :) I go to Kroger when I’m out of town, and I definitely prefer the HEB.

  21. My favorite is probably Wholefoods or TJ’s… However, it’s not reasonable. To me both are super expensive but only because I don’t buy everything organic. We are military so we take advantage of no tax and at cost items at the grocery store on base. I also love Fresh Market too… But there again the price thing!

  22. My favorite grocery store is TJs, but I’ve never lived closer than 1.5 hours to one, so I suppose it doesn’t count. I like Whole Foods & Earth Fare for their “weird” selection, but I don’t think they’re worth shopping at all the time. I think my favorite is Hannaford (a Northern brand) because the prices are good, the selection is pretty darn decent and the produce, meat and seafood is always fresh. Plus, Chobani is 1$ there and it’s like 1.30 everywhere here. Annnnnoying.

  23. We don’t have either in Connecticut. When I am in Florida we do go to Publix and like it.

  24. I love grocery shopping so I love this post :-) And Publix is the FAR superior grocery store!! I promise you it’s cheaper if you shop the sales right. Those BOGO sales are insane when you combine them with coupons!

  25. There aren’t Publix or Kroger near me, so my favorite store is TJ’s :) I’ve heard so much about Publix that I really want to go to one! I think it’s only in the South, am I right?

  26. My favorite store is the Natural Grocer. They are a smaller version of whole foods yet somehow everything (brand for brand) is about 50% cheaper. LOVE IT!

  27. PUBLIX!!!! But in Tuscaloosa, it’s either Food World or Publix. I love the produce and the organic/clean food selection. Ours is bringing a lot more gluten free stuff on board which I’m learning to use. I get happy when I go to publix. It’s weird, I know :)

    Back home in MS, it’s Kroger all the way. Very similar to your reviews.

  28. I say neither – Trader Joe’s all the way! 😉

  29. I have to go to both. They’re about 1/2 mile from each other and a mile from my house, but they don’t carry the same things and like you said, the prices on the same products are SO different so I hit up both each time I go!

  30. I’ve never been to Publix. I love asian marts though– they aren’t the cleanest, but they have such great cheap produce that you can’t find in other mainstream supermarkets.

  31. Haha, this is an awesome topic for a post. I like Kroger for prices and selection and my family gets an employee discount because my dad works there. So I pretty much NEVER go to Publix unless it’s for a sandwich. Their sandwiches are seriously amazing.

  32. This is such an interesting debate. I grew up in a small town with a Kroger and was SO excited to move somewhere with Publix. But Publix has slowly crept into the background, as their stores are much smaller and I often can’t find everything I need.

    Kroger, I’m finding, does a fantastic job keeping up with the times. As food trends have changed, Kroger has changed. They’re trying to slowly renovate all of their stores to create “Fresh Fare” Krogers, which are AMAZING! It’s like Whole Foods on the outside section with normal Kroger on the inside section. Everything you need in one store! Have you been to the Kroger at Lenox and Piedmont? WHOA!

    I still love both, as well, but I’m finding that Kroger is climbing higher and higher on my list with this new setup. The one by my house has already converted, so I love it. I also love the gas partnership with Shell!

    Alas, I still usually end up at Whole Foods.

    • I do agree with you that Publix is usually a smaller store. I’ve been to the Kroger that you’re talking about, but only once. I live in Tucker (even though I like to pretend that I live in Midtown) so it’s not that close.

  33. I love that you have so many comments on a post about grocery stores. I see that others are as passionate as I am about where they get their goods!

    We don’t have Publix or Kroger here in NC (at least not near me). However, whenever we go to Florida I always, always want to go to Publix because they are all so clean and seem like they have a big selection of stuff I like. At home I shop at a bunch of different places, it’s sick. I go to the local Ingles, which is the main grocery store in the area, for quite a bit of my stuff. Sometimes I’ll pick up a few things at Walmart if I’m there, because it can be pretty cheap. When we go into Asheville I like to go to Amazing Savings which is a way cheap store whose products always change based on what comes in, like last week I got single serve Fage yogurts for 49 cents a piece! I also hit Earth Fare when I’m in Asheville, but it’s expensive so I only buy some bulk thinks and specialty things I can’t find at other stores.


  34. I heart Publix and their subs. I dont know what kind of crack they lace them with but its something magical. I just moved back to FL and that was one of the big perks of the move (despite there being no Trader Joe’s here) We had Kroger when I lived in WV and it was good but nothing to write home about it, I think they did an overhaul of their imagine since the last time I went to one though.

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  38. margaret chevalier

    I am in Tucker and so Kroger is 3 min from my house but it is an awful ghetoo like Kroger, the worst I have ever seen. It is dirty, they have turkey legs placed right next to the produce lettuce1 Hardly even refrigerated. Its always crowded and the employees are over worked and rude. The only good thing about it is its open 24/7 so in a pinch you can pop in get milk and essentials. Its not good for anything else. I have seen much better Krogers. Publix is about 15 minutes away but its worth the drive and makes me feel happier to go there just because I feel more welcome there and its cleaner and friendlier. They never go through my bags to search for a fifty cent coupon item they didn’t see. Kroger is a number 0 in my book.

  39. one thing that wasn’t mentioned: Meat.

    The meats at Publix are CHOICE grade. Their meats are spectacular. I had shopped at Publix for 12 years when my gr’daughter had a fundraiser via Kroger. So I shopped Kroger for six months. The fundraiser ended last week – Saints Be Praised.

    Everytime I went in I cursed them. Their store layout frustrated me like crazy. Items are in two places. Olive Oil, for instance. But many many things. Fruit cups are in a different section than Fruit. Et al.

    Their meat is not spectacular. their fresh veggies are limited to the basics. I was not able to buy Small red potatoes. Plus the veggie section sometimes looks tired.

    Kroger does sell frozen artichokes in large bags, so that was exciting as I cook with them a lot. Publix only carries small-ish boxes of them, so for me, that was a Win for Kroger. Kroger also has store-brand Spumoni (i.e., low priced), so that was another Win for Kroger.

    Still, those wins were not enough to offset my constant irritation. (wow, I’m crabby in my old age – lol…)

    It was my happy day when the fundraiser ended. However, I know to count on it happening again next year, so I am enjoying Publix while I can.

    Great article.

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  42. I never tried krogers subs and was wondering which is better,thanks for the heads up.publix deli is much fresher the onion rings and wedges,at krogers old and stale the chicken at publix is great.krogers (SORRY) the bakery in publix is great krogers (sorry) u get what you pay for though.publix also have awesome sales

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  44. Publix, hands down!!! Cleaner stores, superb customer service, quality food, and on and on and on. If you want an item and they don’t have it, they will get it for you. They will honor local store coupons in addition to their own. I cannot stand the store layout for Kroger. I find it very frustrating. If I have 3 items on my list, I usually can only find 2 of them. If I can’t find an item and have to ask for assistance, I usually have to wait for two or more employees to finish chatting before they will acknowledge me. Then, I have actually had one tell me, ‘I’m not sure where that is, you might check…’. Publix employees, on the other hand, will walk you over to the item. Yes indeed, Publix all the way!

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