H-E-B’s quest for the most delectable creations from Lone Star state food makers has been narrowed to 25 finalists from the more than 700 submissions it received this year.
Entrepreneurs from nearly 140 cities and towns across Texas submitted entries in the San Antonio-based retailer’s annual culinary showdown. This year’s finalists will face off in the fifth annual Quest for Texas Best competition Aug. 9-10 at the Central Texas Food Bank in Austin.
“Over the past five years of this competition, we have tasted more than 2,700 of the most creative Texas-based food and beverages in pursuit of Texas’ very best, selecting 125 finalists since 2014,” James Harris, director of diversity, inclusion and supplier diversity for H-E-B, said in a statement.
This year’s competition generated a mix of breads, brews, falafel, fudge, sauces, soups, sausage and sweets. “Each year keeps us on our toes with innovative products, and this year is no exception. We are proud to continue a program that gives small business owners the opportunity to share their pride and joy with H-E-B shoppers across the state,” Harris added.
A panel of expert judges will review and score the top 25 finalists’ creations and will select four winners based on quality, marketability and product readiness. Winners will receive a combined $70,000 in cash prizes and highly coveted space on H-E-B shelves.
H-E-B will award the grand-prize winner with $25,000, the sought-after title of “Texas Best” Primo Pick; authorization for placement on its shelves; and a new Toyota Tundra. Prizes for runners-up include $20,000 for the first-place winner; $15,000 the second-place winner; and $10,000 for the third-place winner.
The 2018 Quest for Texas Best finalists are:
1885 Coffee Co.
Bellville Meat Market
Bernard’s Gourmet Foods
Big Little Fudge
Chef Rey Inc.
Collin Street Bakery
Deanan Gourmet Popcorn
Deep River Specialty Foods
Loving Libbie Memorial Foundation
Mad Hectic Oatmeal
Nuts and Cows
Sing and Shout Foods
Texas Black Gold Garlic
Tiny House Coffee
Tio Pelon’s Salsita LLC
Throughout two qualifying rounds, H-E-B’s team of business development managers scored entries on taste and flavor; customer appeal; value; uniqueness, market potential; and product differentiation.
The Quest for Texas Best is a signature program for H-E-B’s Primo Picks brand, which labels best-in-store products that are all unique, delicious and new. Since its inception in 2014, the Quest for Texas Best competition has yielded more than 432 new products on H-E-B’s grocery, bakery, deli and market shelves across the state.
With annual revenue of more than $25 billion, H-E-B is the single largest retailer of the Go Texan program, with nearly 1,000 own brand items sporting the program’s watermark in its 400 stores.