Shopping at Publix really is a pleasure — at least according to Fortune.
The Lakeland grocery chain has once again made the magazine’s list, published in February, of the world’s most admired companies.
Publix ranked No. 42 on the list and is the only Florida company to make the top 50. That’s up from No. 48 last year. Another 10 Florida companies made the unranked portion of the list, including St. Petersburg’s Raymond James Financial.
Publix was also the top-ranked company in the food and drugstore industry, scoring the highest marks in a number of fields, including people management, quality of management, financial soundness, product and service quality and social responsibility.
Over the past few years, Publix’s image has taken a few slings and arrows over the company’s ties to conservative causes, including corporate campaign donations to Republican officials like Donald Trump, Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis.
In 2021, Publix heiress Julia Jenkins Fancelli was reported by the Wall Street Journal to have bankrolled a rally preceding the Jan. 6 Capitol riots.
During the 2018 governor’s race, the company gave at least $670,000 to then-Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, who once called himself a “proud NRA sellout.” That spawned protests and boycotts led by students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, and prompted Publix to suspend political donations ... until the following year, when it resumed giving money to lawmakers from both parties.
“Supporting our associates, customers and communities is always top of mind for Publix, especially when tragedies strike like natural disasters and gun violence,” the company tweeted in response to the criticism. “When we are deciding which political candidates to financially support during an election, we consider a number of factors. Publix has not provided financial support to the National Rifle Association.”
The controversies have had little discernible impact on the privately held company’s bottom line. Last week, Publix reported sales of $48 billion during the fiscal year ending Dec. 25, 2021, up 7 percent from 2020 and 26 percent from 2019.
Fortune created its “most admired companies” listing via a survey of 1,500 companies and votes by more than 3,700 executives and experts across more than 50 industries.
The top 10 most admired companies in the world, according to this year’s list: Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Pfizer, Disney, Berkshire Hathaway, Alphabet, Starbucks, Netflix and JPMorgan Chase.