H-E-B has scoured the Lone Star State in search of the most delectable culinary creations from talented Texans with a flair for food. After tasty deliberations, 25 finalists were selected from more than 700 entrepreneurs from nearly 140 cities and towns across the state. The finalists will go head-to-head in the fifth annual Quest for Texas Best competition August 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,” said James Harris, Director, Diversity & Inclusion and Supplier Diversity, H-E-B. “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.”
The top 25 finalists will present their creations to a panel of expert judges, who will select four winners based on quality, marketability, and product readiness. Winners will receive a combined $70,000 in cash prizes and sought-after space on H-E-B shelves. H-E-B will award the Grand Prize winner $25,000, the coveted title of “Texas Best” Primo Pick and placement on store shelves; the first-place winner $20,000; the second-place winner $15,000; and the third-place winner $10,000. To celebrate the fifth anniversary, in addition to the $25,000, this year’s Grand Prize winner will also get the keys to a brand-new Toyota Tundra.
The 2018 Quest for Texas Best finalists are:
- 1885 Coffee Co.
- 38 Pecans
- Afia Foods
- Barbecue Wife
- Bellville Meat Market
- Bernard’s Gourmet Foods
- BIG Little Fudge
- Cappadona Ranch
- Chef Rey Inc.
- Collin Street Bakery
- Deanan Gourmet Popcorn
- Deep River Specialty Foods
- Loving Libbie Memorial Foundation
- Mad Hectic Oatmeal
- Maika Foods
- Mirth Soup
- Nuts and Cows
- Pretty Thai
- Sing and Shout Foods
- Texas Black Gold Garlic
- Tiny House Coffee
- Tio Pelon’s Salsita LLC
This year’s competition generated a delicious mix of brews, breads, falafel, fudge, sauces, soups, sausage and sweets. Throughout two qualifying rounds, H-E-B Business Development Managers selected submissions on taste and flavor, customer appeal, value, uniqueness, market potential, and differentiation from products already available at most H-E-B stores.
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.
Frio Farm (Concan) – Grand Prize winner $25,000
MaxFrut (Arlington) – First Place Winner – $20,000
Habibi Gourmet Dip-It (Mission) – Second Place Winner – $15,000
Vela Farms (Victoria) – Third Place Winner – $10,000
TEO Gelato (Austin) – Grand Prize winner – $25,000
Slaton Bakery (Slaton, TX) – First Place Winner – $20,000
Blackbird Foods (Houston) – Second Place Winner – $15,000
Blackbird Bakery (Austin) – Third Place winner – $10,000
The Texas Pie Company (Kyle) – Grand Prize winner – $25,000
KITCHUN (Austin) – One of two First Place Winners – $20,000
Bagel Dots (Houston) – One of two First Place Winners – $20,000
The Culinary Cowgirls (Austin) – Second Place winner – $15,000
Humble House Foods (San Antonio) – Third Place winner – $10,000
Skull & Cakebones (Austin) – Grand Prize Winner- $25,000
The Texas Pecan Cake Shop (Bertram) – One of two First Place Winners – $20,000
WarPig’s F.U.B.A.R. BBQ Sauce – For Use on Butts and Ribs Sauce (Houston) – One of two First Place Winners – $20,000
Tamale Addiction (Austin) – Second Place winner – $15,000
La Familia Cortez Restaurants (San Antonio) – Third Place winner – $10,000
H-E-B Primo Picks invites customers to enjoy products that are unique, delicious, and possibly new to their palates. As part of H-E-B’s commitment to providing local product options, H-E-B is the single largest retailer of the GO Texan program with close to 1,000 Own Brand items with the GO TEXAN watermark in stores throughout the Lone Star State.