Publix vs Food Lion | Which One Is Cheaper and Better For You?

When considering places to go grocery shopping, chances are both Publix and Food Lion have made their way across your radar. Both are amazing grocery stores that supply hundreds of thousands of customers with great quality products. But when deciding which one is better, how do they compare?


I decided to compare these two stores on the three major decision making factors that most customers consider before they go shopping. These decision-making factors are:


  • Price 
  • Quality
  • Variety


By the end of this article, you should have a pretty good idea as to which one of these grocery stores is better for you based on your needs.


Which is Better: Food Lion or Publix? Food Lion is anywhere from 5% to 36% cheaper than Publix for most common store brand items. Additionally, Food Lion has slightly higher quality products, according to the FDA. Publix also offers slightly more options to pick from compared to Food Lion.


Is Food Lion Cheaper Than Publix?

Many consumers consider price as one of the most important factors when deciding which grocery store they want to shop at. It’s safe to assume that these shoppers prefer the store that is going to give them the most amount of savings on their items.


So, to see which store is cheaper, I looked at commonly purchased store brand items and recorded their prices. I then averaged out those prices and put them into common shopping categories. Below is a table that shows which store is cheaper in each category.


Category Food Lion Brand Publix Brand
Baking Goods
Canned Goods
Dry Goods
Frozen Foods
Personal Care


For most common shopping categories, Food Lion is cheaper than Publix. With the exception of personal care goods, Food Lion is anywhere from 5% to 36% cheaper than Publix for most common store brand items.


Food Lion is cheaper than Publix in the six out of the eight common shopping categories, which is a substantial difference. The only two categories where Food Lion was not the cheaper option was in the frozen foods category and the personal care category.

Publix vs Food Lion price comparison which one is cheaper

To paint a better picture of the differences in price between these two stores, I created this comparison bar chart. Each category has the average prices from Publix and Food Lion. It makes it much easier to see the difference and the disparity in prices that these two stores have. 


While some categories are quite close in price, other categories, like dairy and cleaner, have a much larger difference in terms of the price. What this means is that Food Lion is the better option for any customers and shoppers who prioritize savings when they shop.


Product Quality: Food Lion vs Publix

Depending on the grocery store, you are likely to find different varieties of product quality. While some stores consistently sell high-quality products, others have a tendency of selling lower quality products. So between Publix and Food Lion, which one has higher quality products?


To figure this out, I took a look at the FDA’s product recall database. This database shows how many product recalls each establishment has had in recent years. So through this, we will be able to see which store has lower quality products by looking at the total amount of product recalls they have had.


Category Food Lion Recalls Publix Recalls
Animal & Veterinary 0 1
Biologics 0 0
Cosmetics 0 0
Dietary Supplements 0 0
Drugs 0 0
Food and Beverages 12 14
Medical Devices 0 0
Radiation Emitting Products 0 0
Tobacco 0 0


After looking at the FDA database, it is apparent that Publix has slightly more product recalls. More specifically, Food Lion has had 12 product recalls whereas Publix has had 15 product recalls. Although these numbers are quite close, it does suggest that Food Lion has slightly better product quality than Publix.


For reference, the range of product recalls for most grocery stores in the industry is anywhere from about 10 to 24. So both of these stores are on the lower end of product recalls, which means that each store does have high-quality products. It just so happens that Food Lion has slightly higher quality than Publix.


Product Variety: Food Lion vs Publix

Product variety, also known as product options, is something that many customers enjoy when shopping at a grocery store. The more options a store has, the more likely you are to find everything you need when you take a trip to the grocery store.


Something to note is that both of these stores are considered supermarkets which means that they mainly sell produce, consumables, and other basic household items. Because they are both the same type of store, this is a pretty apples to apples comparison.

Total Food Lion Products Total Publix Products
28,000 30,000


It seems that Publix has slightly more items to pick from than Food Lion. Although the difference between the two is about 2000 items, Publix still does offer more options than Food Lion. This means you’re going to have more options to pick from if you shop at Publix then if you shop at Food Lion.


For reference, the average supermarket sells around 31,000 products. So both of these stores are slightly under the industry average.


What Does Each Store Sell?

In terms of what each store sells, they carry most of the same products. You will not have trouble finding big name brands when you shop. However if you are more of a health-conscious shopper who likes to purchase items that are organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, etc. your options are likely quite limited at both of these stores.

Which One Should You Shop At: Food Lion vs Publix?


When to shop at Food Lion: Food Lion offers cheaper prices and higher quality products which are arguably the two most important factors when deciding on where to shop. So if these two factors are important to you, then you should shop at Food Lion.


When to shop at Publix: Despite not having the cheapest prices or the highest quality products, Publix still does offer many different options for you to pick from. You’re likely to find more of what you were looking for at Publix then at Food Lion.


Final Thoughts: Food Lion vs Publix

All in all, both Food Lion and Publix are stores to shop at. While Food Lion does seem to beat Publix in the majority of the analysis categories, Publix is still a great place to shop.


In comparison to the industry, Publix still has very affordable prices and very good quality. So, if you find yourself in a situation where you need to shop there, you are in good hands and your shopping experience is very likely to be great.