H-E-B reveals top 10 finalists for annual best Texas product showdown
Drum roll, please. After spending months assessing more than 21 hours of video submissions, H-E-B has selected the finalists for the annual Quest for Texas Best competition. 10 innovative entrepreneurs were chosen from 632 entries representing 132 Texas cities.
Now in its 10th year, the contest asks Lone Star companies to strut their stuff for the chance to win a combined $70,000 in cash prizes and the opportunity to feature their products on H-E-B shelves. Since the competition's inception, the grocer has discovered over 960 unique products, turning small brands into household names.
Only one San Antonio business is still in the run for the prize. Broadway corridor Italian joint Sorrento Ristorante was singled out for its packaged trio of pasta sauces — marinara, puttanesca, and della casa.
Elsewhere, Houston was well-represented by PhoLicious, an instant version of the classic Vietnamese noodle soup, and Farmstand Salad Dressing, a brand creating small-batch condiments made with produce from a hydroponic urban farm. Sugar monsters will no doubt be tempted by Sweets with L&L, a Spring company making ready-to-eat cotton candy.
Vying for the crown from Austin is vegan company Funky Mellow — the maker of Sweet N Salty Dippsterz, a snack pack with pretzels and vanilla marshmallow crème. Nearby, Lockhart is represented with Wella's grain-free cereal line.
Though Lockhart may be the official Barbecue Capital of Texas, this year's barbecue contestant hails from Arlington. Brisket Boss' Savory Peach Molasses Seasoning is a versatile seasoning fit for beef, pork, seafood, or vegetables.
Other products in the finals round include Texas Babe Tanning Oil, fittingly from Rockport. Dublin dairy Armagh Creamery contributes an organic, European-style yogurt, and Jasper hopes to refresh H-E-B shoppers with A'HUA!, a line of sparkling aguas frescas.
The contenders will now face off on August 9 at Fair Park in Dallas. The panel of judges will determine the top four winning products and award $25,000 to the Grand Prize winner and the "Texas Best" title — an honor that guarantees placement on H-E-B store shelves. The first-place winner will receive $20,000, the second-place winner will receive $15,000, and the third-place winner will receive $10,000.