Kroger vs. Publix: Which grocery store has the lowest prices?

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Kroger vs. Publix: Which grocery store has the lowest prices?
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All year long, Clark.com’s Michael Timmermann is sharing quick and easy ways to save money as part of our Michael Saves series. Check in every Monday as he puts new and familiar savings strategies to the test. Sign up for our newsletter to have these stories delivered to your inbox!

Where I grew up, there’s Safeway and Giant. In college, we had Superfresh and Food Lion. And now that I live in the South, it’s Kroger and Publix on every corner.

Faced with increasing competition from discount grocers like Aldi, these traditional supermarkets are fighting back.

Read more: Need extra cash? Here’s how I earned $1,500 using these 3 apps

Kroger vs. Publix price comparison: Where are the best deals?

Publix, a grocery store chain with more than 1,100 locations in the Southeast, has been showcasing price comparisons on select items that are cheaper than what you’d find at Walmart.

Meanwhile, Kroger greets shoppers at the door with brand new signs that read, “We’ve lowered our prices!”

But which store really has the best deals? Over the weekend, we took a list of 15 popular foods to Kroger and Publix to compare prices based on the items that were in stock.

As someone who shops regularly at both stores, I wasn’t expecting this…

1. Bananas, 5 count

  • Kroger: $1.05
  • Publix: $1.29

2. Berry medley, frozen

  • Kroger: $3.49 (16 oz.)
  • Publix: $3.00 (10 oz.)

3. Whole wheat bread

  • Kroger: $1.88
  • Publix: $2.69

Read more: 11 ways to save even more at Kroger

4. Brussels sprouts, frozen

  • Kroger: $1.19 (12 oz.)
  • Publix: $1.99 (15 oz.)

5. Ground coffee*

  • Kroger: $4.47 (Community Coffee; 12 oz.)
  • Publix: $4.43 (Eight O’Clock; 11 oz.)

*Community Coffee was $5.99 at Publix.

6. Eggs

  • Kroger: $1.59
  • Publix: $1.50

7. Hummus

  • Kroger: $3.49 (10 oz.)
  • Publix: $2.99 (8 oz.)

Read more: 10 surprises you probably didn’t know about Publix

8. Vegetable broth*

  • Kroger: $1.29
  • Publix: $2.47

*No store brand available at Publix.

9. Milk*

  • Kroger: $2.09
  • Publix: $2.99

*Kroger milk was on special; expiration date one week away.

10. Mozzarella cheese

  • Kroger: $1.88
  • Publix: $3.69

11. Steel cut oats*

  • Kroger: $3.49 (28 oz.)
  • Publix: $4.39 (32 oz.)

*No store brand available at Publix.

Read more: 11 apps that pay you to shop for groceries

12. Pretzels

  • Kroger: $1.49 (15 oz.)
  • Publix: $1.67 (16 oz.)

13. Sweet potatoes, 2 pounds

  • Kroger: $2.05
  • Publix: $2.68

14. Chicken breasts, roughly 3.5 pounds

  • Kroger: $7.42 ($1.99/lb.)
  • Publix: $15.04 ($4.49/lb.)

15. Sweet onions, 2 pounds

  • Kroger: $1.07
  • Publix: $3.02

And the winner is…

I expected Kroger to be cheaper than Publix, but not by so much. The total cost for everything in my grocery cart was $37.94 at Kroger (with savings card) and $53.84 at Publix.

After factoring in unit pricing (cost per ounce or pound), Publix only had the better value on eggs. Here’s more on how to compare unit prices at the grocery store.

The most surprising thing to me was the price of chicken. The package of chicken breasts from Kroger, which was slightly larger than the one from Publix, was less than half the price.

At $1.99 a pound, Kroger’s price was cheaper than Aldi and Trader Joe’s. See our price comparison.

To give you some context…

Due to different product sizes and availability, there were some challenges with this comparison between Kroger and Publix.

However, if you take a look at the items that were most similar (bananas, bread, eggs, milk, cheese, sweet potatoes, chicken, onions), Kroger is still cheaper.

Here are the totals for those eight items:

  • Kroger: $19.03
  • Publix: $32.90

More ways to save

Although I did substitute store brands when possible, I didn’t use any other money-saving strategies, such as checking the ads before making my shopping list.

Here are some ways to save money at traditional grocery stores:

  • Build grocery list around items in the weekly circular
  • Only buy protein (meat, poultry, fish) that’s on sale
  • Stock up on pantry staples that are on sale
  • Buy discounted items that are near expiration and freeze them
  • Use paper and digital coupons, plus cash back apps

Kroger and Publix both have plenty of fans!

Grocery stores run sales and promotions at different times throughout the month, so you may have a totally different outcome when you compare prices.

And let’s be clear: Our comparison looked strictly at the prices of just 15 items.

Publix and Kroger, which operates under a variety of different names nationwide, both have plenty of loyal shoppers — and Publix in particular is known for its stellar customer service.

So, if you’re looking to save money, conduct your own comparison and weigh the pros and cons of each store.

Check out more from our Michael Saves series:

Clark’s key tips for avoiding long supermarket lines

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Mike Timmermann About the author:
Michael Timmermann paid off his mortgage in two years. Now, he shares his money-saving tips on his blog, Save on Almost Everything.
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