Let the judging begin - Retailer begins second phase of search for best Texas-based food and beverage products

Jo-Carolyn Goode | 5/12/2014, 1:11 p.m.
Phase II of H-E-B’s Primo Picks: Quest for Texas Best contest has begun with close to 600 entries representing 128 ...

Phase II of H-E-B’s Primo Picks: Quest for Texas Best contest has begun with close to 600 entries representing 128 Texas towns from Amarillo to Brownsville and everywhere in between.

“We had no idea what to expect,” said James Harris, H-E-B Director, Supplier Diversity. “We were ecstatic to find that submissions more than doubled our expectations.”

All submissions will be reviewed as the list is narrowed down to the top 25 finalists through two rounds of qualifiers before appearing prior to appearing before a panel of expert judges on August 19 - 20 at the Houston Food Bank to compete for the top four spots.

All eligible entries will be reviewed in round one by H-E-B Business Development Managers through a series of assessments for taste and flavor, customer appeal, value, uniqueness, market potential, and differentiation from products already available at most H-E-B stores. Finalists from round one will advance to round two.

In round two, the remaining contestants will present their products and business plans to a panel of H-E-B judges at the Houston Food Bank. Interviews will focus on quality, marketability and readiness for production and overall suitability as a potential retail supplier.

Entries were received for 74 categories including beer, butter, cookies and milk, muffins, Mexican pastries and pickles, sauces, teas and spices. Departments represented are as follows: Bakery; Beverages: coffee, beer, wine; candy; dairy; deli; dry grocery; fresh produce; frozen foods; healthy living; meats and cheeses; seafood; and tortillas and pastries.

“The results are truly amazing,” said Harris. “We already have a strong commitment to carrying a significant variety of great Texas-made products and the discovery of these will help us grow and celebrate the creativity and ingenuity of Texans even more.”

H-E-B Primo Picks: Quest for Texas Best” launched Sunday, February 2. Winners will be awarded a cash prize along with the possibility of gaining a coveted spot on H-E-B shelves statewide in 2015.

The third place winner will receive $10,000, the second place winner will receive $15,000, the first place winner will receive $20,000 and the top product selected and Grand Prize winner will receive $25,000 and be named a “Texas Best” Primo Pick. Additionally, Texas-based suppliers must also create, produce or co-pack the products in Texas.

H-E-B launched Primo Picks statewide in 2012 and invites customers to treat themselves to select products that are unique, delicious and that many customers may have never heard of or tried before. All featured Primo Picks products represent the best of what’s in store like H-E-B Mootpia®, Queso Poblano Chicken Sausage, and H-E-B That Green Sauce. A full list of H-E-B’s Primo Picks can be found by visiting www.heb.com/primopicks.

For more on Primo Picks or Quest for Texas Best, visit www.heb.com/quest.