H-E-B Primo Picks Announces 25 Finalists

HEB primoHouston-based grocer H-E-B‘s Primo Picks Quest for Texas Best contest has made one thing very clear: Texans are creative. This year’s variety and flavorful entries ignited the judges’ taste buds as they whittled more than 400 submissions from across the Lone Star State to 25 finalists.

Quest for Texas Best contest submissions came from 74 Texas towns, yielding a delicious mix of sauces, salsas, spices, sweets and spreads along with meats and mixes all vying to join the ranks of private brand products at the iconic grocer

In two qualifying rounds, submissions were judged based on taste and flavor, customer appeal, value, uniqueness, market potential and differentiation from products already available at most H-E-B stores.

H-E-B managers chose Behrens’ Pepper Salts, Blackbird Bakery, Blackbird Foods, Cessna’s Sassy Salsa, Cowboy Up Chocolates, CRC BBQ Spice Rub, Franky’s Cucina Italiano Gourmet Meat Sauce, Gilbert Pecan Company’s Pecan Honey, Ham I Am! Hogwash, Hondo Sugarcane Juice, Hot Dang Grain Burgers, Hot Ruby Drink Mix, Jacqui’s Jamaican Rum Cake, The Jank Sauce, La Casita Hot Sauce, Mis En Place’s Sweet and Sassy Pickles, Misterfrench Gourmet Cookies, Monster PBJ Spreads, Natura Roti and Paratha, Slaton Bakery’s Vanilla Wafers, Tavola Gourmet Dry Pasta, TEO Gelato, The Good Promise Chilled Juice Smoothies, Thompson Farms Goat Cheese and Tom & Bingo’s Hickory Pit Bar-B-Q Sauce as the 2015 Quest for Texas Best finalists

During the deciding round at the Houston Food Bank August 12 and 13, a panel of judges will critique the creators of the finalist products to vet their potential as retail suppliers. Through this process, they will examine each item for quality, marketability and readiness for production.

Four winners will receive cash prizes and consideration for coveted space on H-E-B shelves. The $25,000 Grand Prize carries an additional accolade: that winner will be named a “Texas Best” Primo Pick. A first-place winner will receive $20,000, with $15,000 awarded for second-place and $10,000 for third place.

The Quest for Texas Best is a signature program of H-E-B Primo Picks. H-E-B Primo Picks invites customers to enjoy products that are unique, delicious and possibly new to their palates. Selections represent the best of what is in stores, such as H-E-B MooTopia, H-E-B Queso Poblano Chicken Sausage and H-E-B That Green Sauce.

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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.