Publix vs Whole Foods | Which One Is Cheaper & Better For You?

Both Publix and Whole Foods are two of the most well-known grocery stores in the United States. Each of them serve someone of a different demographic as Publix is more of an average income store, whereas Whole Foods is a bit more of a higher income store.


However they are much more different than you may initially think. To better compare these two, I took a look at 3 major decision making factors:

  • Price 
  • Quality
  • Variety

After reading this, you should have a much better idea as to which grocery store is right for you.


Which is Better: Publix or Whole Foods? Publix is much cheaper than Whole Foods by a range of 2% to 75% for store brand items. However, Whole Foods has significantly higher product quality, according to the FDA. Both stores offer customers about the same amount of products to pick from in terms of product variety.


Is Publix Cheaper Than Whole Foods?

Prices at grocery stores are a big factor that most customers look at before they decide on which store they are going to choose. Most customers prefer the store that is going to give them the best deal, or the biggest bang for their buck.


To see which store offers the best prices, I took a look at common store brand items that each store sells. I then grouped them into the appropriate category and compared the average prices. Below is a table that shows which store has cheaper items on average in each common shopping category.


Category Publix Brand Whole Foods Brand
Baking Goods
Canned Goods
Dry Goods
Frozen Foods
Personal Care


Publix is cheaper than Whole Foods by a range of 2% to 75% for common store brand items. So, Publix is cheaper for all shopping categories.


Unsurprisingly, Publix offers cheaper goods on average when compared to Whole Foods. There is no singular category where Whole Foods is the cheaper option. The reason why this is pretty unsurprising is because Whole Foods generally sells organic and health conscious types of foods which generally cost more money, thus raising the average prices at their stores.

publix vs whole foods price comparison which one is cheaper

To give you a better idea of how these two stores compare on price, I made this bar chart that directly compares the average prices for each store. As you can see, there are some serious price disparities between the two,


For example, the beverage, dairy, and personal care categories all show Whole Foods as being significantly more expensive than Publix. While there are a few categories (like canned goods, dry foods, cleaner, etc.) that are much closer in price, Whole Foods is still more expensive.

Product Quality: Publix vs Whole Foods

Quality products are also front of mind for most shoppers. Customers typically want to buy high quality products when they go grocery shopping. So when we take a look at these two stores, which one has higher quality.


To figure this out, I looked at the FDA’s product recall database to see which store has had more product recalls in recent times. The store with fewer product recalls is likely the one with higher quality products.


Category Publix Recalls Whole Foods Recalls
Animal & Veterinary 1 0
Biologics 0 0
Cosmetics 0 0
Dietary Supplements 0 0
Drugs 0 0
Food and Beverages 14 2
Medical Devices 0 0
Radiation Emitting Products 0 0
Tobacco 0 0

According to the FDA, Whole Foods has had significantly less product recalls in recent years. To be more specific, Publix has had 15 product recalls and Whole Foods has had 2. This suggests that Whole Foods has higher quality products, as they have very few instances of product recalls.


Something to note is that the general range of product recalls for most grocery stores is anywhere from 10 recalls to 24 recalls. This just shows how high quality Whole Foods products really are, as they are way below the industry average.

Product Variety: Publix vs Whole Foods

While it may not be as big of a factor, product variety is still something to consider before you decide on which grocery store is better for you. Having more options at your disposal means you are more likely to find what you are looking for. Additionally, the store with more options is essentially a ‘one stop shop’, as you won’t need to look anywhere else for your goods.


Something to note is that both stores are considered supermarkets, which means they both generally sell produce, consumables, and basic household items. Because they are both categorized the same means that it is an even comparison.


Total Publix Products Total Whole Foods Products
30,000 30,000


Both Publix and Whole Foods sell about the same amount of items which means you are likely to find the same types of products at each store. Something to note is that the average amount of products that a supermarket carries is about 31,000 products.


So, while both of these stores do offer a wide variety of items, both fall a bit short of the industry average.


What Does Each Store Sell?

Publix and Whole Foods both sell fairly similar items, however Whole Foods does specialize in more health-conscious items.


More specifically, Publix sells Big brand names as well as their own private label. Well they do have some organic options, they definitely don’t specialize in healthy products as much as Whole Foods.


Well you may find it harder to find big brand names at Whole Foods, there are so many options for organic, gluten-free, non-GMO, etc. types of foods in their stores. So if you’re a more health-conscious shopper then Whole Foods is much better for you. But, if you don’t typically shop for healthier items, then Publix is a good option as well.

Which One Should You Shop At: Publix vs Whole Foods?


When to shop at Publix: The one major advantage that Publix has over Whole Foods is price. Storebrand items are significantly cheaper at Publix than they are at Whole Foods. If you don’t mind lower quality products, then Publix is the best option for you.


When to shop at Whole Foods: while it is a bit pricier, products at Whole Foods are higher quality than Publix. Additionally, Whole Foods offers more organic and health-conscious options. So if you don’t mind paying a bit more for quality, but Whole Foods is the best option for you.


Final Thoughts: Publix vs Whole Foods

After doing this analysis, it is clear that both Whole Foods and Publix have their advantages and definitely benefit different types of customers. But it should be said that both are incredibly good grocery stores.


Although Publix does have lower quality products in comparison to Whole Foods, it still does have good quality options. It just so happens that Whole Foods is a higher standard.


No matter which one you shop at, you’re gonna be getting good deals and good quality products.