In the Richmond market, Publix is a relatively new player. As a national chain, they have steadily migrated north. As a kid, I remember shopping there with my mom every time we visited my grandparents in Florida. They have always been nice, clean, bright, and friendly stores.
When Martin’s decided to leave the stores they took over from RVA’s beloved Ukrop’s, Publix stepped in to fill the void. They completely remodeled the stores, and they are beautiful. Plus, their store associates are so nice! They will go out of their way to help you find something specific.
Let’s start with what they DO have for Vegans. In addition to the accidentally vegan staples/junk food in the middle aisles and whole foods like beans and grains, Publix has:
- Produce. Typically very well stocked and good quality. Often you will pay a premium for their produce, but you know it will be worth it.
- Sushi. Their in house sushi makers usually keep some type of veggie rolls in the case.
- Hummus. They have a half case devoted to several different brands of this vegan staple, including the new Sabra dessert varieties.
- Vegan cheese and tofu. They have a section devoted to this in their produce department. At the beginning of the pandemic, they actually sold out of tofu! They carry Vivo Life, Daiya, Chao, and Follow your Heart brands cheese. They have their own Greenwise organic brand of tofu, plus the Hodo brand of prepped tofu I found at The Fresh Market.
- Kombucha. They sell several brands and many different flavors that you can’t find in other stores.
- Vegan meat substitutes. Publix carries Beyond Meat, Lightlife, Impossible, and Pure brands. You can find these in the freezer section open cases.
- Frozen vegan desserts. They do carry a variety of non-dairy ice cream, including Ben and Jerry’s, So Delicious, and Publix store brand. The Publix peanut buttery cocoa chip is especially yummy! They also carry the Daiya plain cheesecakes.
- Plant based milks. Publix carries a wide variety of brands and types. You can pretty much find your favorite here.
- Just Egg. It’s $5.49 here.
- Dave’s Killer Bread. It’s my favorite. They have the whole line of products here.
- Plant based yogurt. The Kite Hill, Forager, and Silk brands are right by the dairy yogurts.
- Vegan cream cheese. You will find Kite Hill and Miyoko’s Creamery brands beside the dairy cream cheese.
- Vegan chocolate. They carry both the Justin’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups, which are vegan, and a few varieties of the Endangered Species chocolate bars.
What won’t you find at Publix? Vegan goods from the bakery. They do carry one brand of vegan healthy cookies that are similar to oatmeal cookies, but that’s it. They do not bake vegan friendly cakes, cookies, etc. in store.
I find their stores, although very pleasant, to be on the expensive side. For example, avocados are typically less than $1 at Walmart or Kroger, but can cost up to $2.50 for the same size at Publix. Another example: My husband’s favorite brand of kombucha, GT’s, is $3.69 here, when I can buy it for less than $3 at Kroger or Walmart. Nationally branded vegan items tend to run retail prices. However, when they do run sales, they are very good, and you don’t need a loyalty card to benefit . I’ve even seen buy one get one free Beyond Burgers here. I also highly recommend buying their Greenwise organic store brand. Everything I’ve tried from this brand has been good, including their tofu, canned beans and vegetables, and frozen vegetables.
If I need to go to the store to pick up a few items, I will stop here. It’s the closest grocery store to my home. This gives me a chance to pick up some vegan items I can’t find at my typical stores where I do my primary shops, like Kite Hill products and their store brand non-dairy ice cream. Overall, it’s a nice place to shop, and not any more expensive than Whole Foods, although a bit less vegan friendly.
UPDATE 5/2021: I recently visited my local Publix to try their new-ish Vegan Garlic Herb Tofu sandwich, available on a bun or in a wrap. I chose their multigrain bun, piled high with all the veggies! It was pretty good! So if you need a quick bite, visit their sandwich bar for this beauty!
Do you have a Publix in your area? Have you ever shopped here? I’d love to hear about it! As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy.