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Austin scores Texas-sized honors in H-E-B's best new product contest

Austin scores Texas-sized honors in H-E-B's best new product contest

H-E-B Primo Picks Quest for Texas Best 2019 Houston
Jody Hall, H-E-B; Winell Herron, H-E-B; first place winner Courtney Ray Goodson, Uncle Ray's Peanut Brittle; and James Harris, H-E-B. Photo courtesy of H-E-B
H-E-B Primo Picks Quest for Texas Best 2019 Houston
Grand prize winner, Traci Johannson, 3 Sons Foods; Jody Hall, H-E-B; George Johannson; Winell Herron, H-E-B; Luke and Ayden Johannson; James Harris, H-E-B. Photo courtesy of H-E-B
H-E-B Primo Picks Quest for Texas Best 2019 Houston
Third place winner, Yoni Medhin, Grain4Grain; Winell Herron, H-E-B; Matt Mechtly, Grain4Grain; and James Harris, H-E-B. Photo courtesy of H-E-B
H-E-B Primo Picks Quest for Texas Best 2019 Houston
Third Place winner, Joann Reece, To the Moon Family Foods; Winell Herron, H-E-B; Kay Lynn York, To the Moon Family Foods. Photo courtesy of H-E-B
H-E-B Primo Picks Quest for Texas Best 2019 Houston
Second Place winner, Derrick Newball, of EVOKE. Photo courtesy of H-E-B
H-E-B Primo Picks Quest for Texas Best 2019 Houston
Grand prize winner Diablo Verde Sauce from 3 Sons Foods.  Photo courtesy of H-E-B
H-E-B Primo Picks Quest for Texas Best 2019 Houston
Austin’s Courtney Ray Goodson won first place for her Uncle Ray’s Peanut Brittle. Photo courtesy of H-E-B
H-E-B Primo Picks Quest for Texas Best 2019 Houston
Derek Newball of Woodway, Texas, landed second place for his EVOKE collagen drink.  Photo courtesy of H-E-B
H-E-B Primo Picks Quest for Texas Best 2019 Houston
To the Moon Family Foods, based in Atlanta, Texas, tied for third place with its Nutty-Carrot Spread.  Photo courtesy of H-E-B
H-E-B Primo Picks Quest for Texas Best 2019 Houston
Yoni Medhin and Matt Mechtly of San Antonio tied for third placewith their Grain4Grain Low-Carb Flour and Mix. Photo courtesy of H-E-B
H-E-B Primo Picks Quest for Texas Best 2019 Houston
H-E-B Primo Picks Quest for Texas Best 2019 Houston
H-E-B Primo Picks Quest for Texas Best 2019 Houston
H-E-B Primo Picks Quest for Texas Best 2019 Houston
H-E-B Primo Picks Quest for Texas Best 2019 Houston
H-E-B Primo Picks Quest for Texas Best 2019 Houston
H-E-B Primo Picks Quest for Texas Best 2019 Houston
H-E-B Primo Picks Quest for Texas Best 2019 Houston
H-E-B Primo Picks Quest for Texas Best 2019 Houston
H-E-B Primo Picks Quest for Texas Best 2019 Houston

An Austin business is enjoying Lone Star State-sized bragging rights after a big win on August 8. The entrepreneurs, along with four other homegrown Texas businesses, are the collective winners of H-E-B’s sixth-annual Primo Picks Quest for Texas Best contest, which recognizes the most innovative products.

A Houston family leads the way, joining winners from Austin; San Antonio; Woodway; and Atlanta, Texas. Houston’s 3 Sons Foods won a grand prize of $25,000 and featured placement as a Texas Primo Pick for Diablo Verde Sauce, a creamy cilantro offering. The company is owned by and operated by Traci Johannson and her three young sons: George (11), Luke (14), and Ayden (16). A portion of Diablo Verde sales goes to the International Rhino Foundation to help stop the illegal poaching of rhinos, according to a release.

Collectively, the winners earn $80,000 in prizes and, just as important, coveted shelf space in H-E-Bs across the state.

First place honors — and a $20,000 prize — go to Austin’s Courtney Ray Goodson for her Uncle Ray’s Peanut Brittle. Inspired by her great uncle Ray’s 35-year-old recipe, Goodson’s offerings include Bacon Pecan, Butternut, Pecan, and classic Peanut Brittle.

Hailing from Woodway, Texas, Derek Newball landed second place and $15,000 for his EVOKE collagen drink. Capitalizing on the collagen drink trend, Newball’s coconut-based products are meant to benefit skin, hair, joints, and bones and come in coconut, mandarin coconut, and pineapple coconut flavors.

To the Moon Family Foods, based in Atlanta, Texas, tied for third place (a $10,000 prize) with its To the Moon Family Foods Nutty-Carrot Spread. Creators Kay Lynn York and Joan Reece combine carrots, pecans, and “mouthwatering” spices for a spread to be used on sandwiches; meats; or even rolled in balls, coated, and fried.

Tying with To the Moon at third place (and a $10,000 prize) is San Antonio’s Grain4Grain Low-Carb Flour and Mix. Owners Yoni Medhin and Matt Mechtly recycle spent grains from local microbreweries to make a low-carb, high-protein, high-fiber flour. For every pound of flour sold, Grain4Grain donates a pound to those in need.

The 2019 Quest for Texas Best competition drew more than 800 entries from nearly 140 cities and towns across the state after a call for entries in February of this year. Through 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.

“Each of these 20 competitors displayed unprecedented creativity, style and commitment to providing outstanding, unique products for our consideration,” said James Harris, director of diversity & inclusion and supplier diversity at H-E-B, in a statement. “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.”