Publix brings back free cookies for kids at store bakeries

Kids will once again be able to get a free cookie from the Publix bakery.

A spokesperson for the Lakeland-based supermarket chain confirmed to FOX 13 that their free kids cookie program has been reinstated companywide, more than a year after Publix discontinued the freebie handouts at stores in March of 2020 at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The news comes at the same time that Publix opted to make masks optional for fully vaccinated shoppers.

The return of the free cookies will likely be music to kids' ears, but the sweet treats are popular with adults as well.

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The supermarket chain's bakery plant in Lakeland can churn out a staggering number of cookies for more than 1,200 stores, especially during the busy holiday season.

At the plant, a cascade of cookie dough rolls on a conveyor belt, where a machine with a wire cutter inside quickly cuts them into the proper shape and portion.

"Twenty-four hundred cookies a minute," bragged bakery general manager Gaye Pate to FOX 13 back in 2018. "And every one of those cookies have about 45 to 50 chips in each cookie."

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They blow through 2 million pounds of flour a week, and 400,000 pounds of sugar.

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They do get some automated help with packing, where the cookies are stacked "shoulders up." From any angle, the customer thinks they are seeing the front of the package.

"You notice that we put one angle this way. One angle this way," Publix CEO Todd Jones described. "So, if a customer is on this side, they are seeing the front. On this side, the front. So, you see these beautiful chocolate chips in there."

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