Friday, August 16th, 2019
H-E-B has concluded its deliberations on who really is the best in Texas. Or at least, who gets to have their products displayed in H-E-B stores with some cash to boot. With over 800 entries from nearly 140 cities and towns throughout Texas, it’s a wonder the retailer was able to decide on only five winners. The winners of the sixth-annual event hail from Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Woodway, and Atlanta, Texas, and received a combined $80,000 in cash prizes at the event held at the Houston Food Bank.
“Each of these 20 competitors displayed unprecedented creativity, style and commitment to providing outstanding, unique products for our consideration. In fact, the entries were so good that we ended up with FIVE winners this year. We are delighted to share that diversity and ingenuity with our customers across the state,” said James Harris, Director, Diversity & Inclusion and Supplier Diversity.
After two qualifying rounds, submissions were judged on taste and flavor, customer appeal, value, uniqueness, market potential, and differentiation from current products at most H-E-B stores. The judges consisted of:
- Cory Basso, H-E-B Group Vice President of Advertising
- Juan Alonso, H-E-B Regional Vice President Houston Division, South Region and Mi Tienda
- Justin Tippet, H-E-B Director of Human Resources SA/West Division
- Chef Charlotte Samuel, H-E-B Culinary Nutritionist & Product Development Chef
- Tanji Patton, Good Taste TV Executive Producer
- Greg Morago, Houston Chronicle Food Writer
- Winell Herron, H-E-B Group Vice President of Public Affairs, Diversity and Environmental Affairs.
The judges tasted their way through a delicious mix of brats, brittle, sauces, pickles, mixes, mixers, meats, cookies, and crickets. Hmm… Anyways, the press releases states the 2019 H-E-B Primo Picks Quest for Texas Best Winners are:
Grand Prize Winner ($25,000, featured placement as a Texas Best Primo Pick):
- 3 Sons Foods, LLC, Diablo Verde Sauce (Houston, TX) – Traci, George, Luke, and Ayden Johannson
- 3 Sons Foods, a family-owned, award-winning company operated by sixth and seventh generation Texans, Traci Johannson and her three sons, George (11), Luke (14) and Ayden (16), produces and sells a devilishly addictive creamy cilantro sauce—Diablo Verde. Available in mild, medium, and hot, Diablo Verde combines cilantro, lime, garlic, jalapeños, and spices into a sauce that is perfect for dipping, flavoring a variety of recipes, and much more. Made in Texas using the freshest ingredients, Diablo Verde is gluten-free, preservative-free, egg-free, nut-free, soy-free, vegetarian, 100-percent natural, and 100-percent full of flavor. Staying true to the company motto, “Eat Diablo Save Rhinos,” a portion of Diablo Verde sales goes to the International Rhino Foundation to help stop the illegal poaching of rhinos.
First Place Winner ($20,000):
- Uncle Ray’s Peanut Brittle, Peanut Brittle (Austin, TX) – Courtney Ray Goodson
- Courtney Ray Goodson’s Great Uncle Ray perfected his peanut brittle over the span of 35 years, giving the classic southern treat a boost and creating eight flavors handmade with wholesome ingredients and no high fructose corn syrup, additives, GMOs, or gluten. Made with some big Texas hair (covered with hair nets, always), big Texas dreams, and a big strong arm that stirs with love and helps our neighbors along the way, the lineup includes: Bacon Pecan (for the foodies), Butternut (for the peanut lovers), Pecan (a top seller), and classic Peanut Brittle (for the Golden Gals [& Guys] of the world).
Second Place Winner ($15,000):
- EVOKE, Collagen Drink (Woodway, TX) – Derrick Newball
- With a dream to create a company capable of producing healthy drinks from coconuts using the entire fruit, Founder Derrick Newball bottled raw coconut water, handcrafted coconut milk soaps from the coconut pulp, and composted the coconut shells to create fertilizer for his coconut farm. After four years of exploring consumer taste preferences and trying new ingredients to leverage their original coconut water, they created EVOKE—one of the first drinks to capitalize on the collagen trend with a beverage that not only tastes great but has numerous benefits for skin, hair, joints, and bones. EVOKE comes in three delicious flavors: coconut, mandarin coconut, and pineapple coconut.
TWO Third Place Winners ($10,000 each):
- To the Moon Family Foods, Nutty-Carrot Spread (Atlanta, TX) – Kay Lynn York and Joan Reece
- To the Moon Family Foods’ Original Nutty-Carrot Spread is the newest crowd-pleaser from this northeast Texas town. Made with carrots, pecans, and mouthwatering spices, its unique flavor matches its addictive appeal. There are endless ways to enjoy the spread: on a sandwich; as a stuffing for baked chicken; as a dip; as a topping for pork or fish; or rolled in balls, coated with breadcrumbs and fried.
- Grain4Grain, Low-Carb Flour and Mix (San Antonio, TX) – Yoni Medhin and Matt Mechtly
- Grain4Grain was founded by Yoni Medhin and Matt Mechtly and current products include both Low Carb Flour Pancake and Waffle Mix. For every pound of flour sold, Grain4Grain donates a pound to those in need via the San Antonio Food Bank and Hill Country Daily Bread, with plans to expand statewide. So far, they have helped feed over 1,650 families through the buy one, give one program.
Congratulations to all the winners this year! For the full press release, click here. Deli Market News can’t wait to see what’s in store.