From tiny towns to sprawling metros, entrepreneurs from 74 cities across the Lone Star State entered this year's H-E-B Quest for Texas Best contest with the hopes of winning cash prizes and a coveted space on the grocer's shelves.
The second annual competition began with 400 items in the running, ranging from sauces and salsas to spreads and meats. After two qualifying rounds, the list has now been whittled down to the top 25 Texas-made goods based on taste and flavor, customer appeal, value, uniqueness, market potential, and differentiation from products already available at H-E-B stores.
Making the final cut are four Austin-area food artisans, including:
Gluten-free is the name of the game at this local bakery, which makes regular appearances at the SFC Farmer's Market. Owner Karen Morgan hopes to make her flour blends more accessible to those interested in gluten-free baking.
Nominated product: Gluten-free, pre-made flour mixes ranging from a "Bread & Pizza" blend to "Cake & Muffin."
Hands down, Hot Dang crafts some of the best veggie-friendly burger alternatives around. Each patty is super healthy — even soy-free — and appeals to vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.
Nominated product: Frozen vegetarian grain burgers in four tasty flavors.
This Austin gelato and espresso shop is ready to serve its signature dessert to H-E-B patrons.
Nominated product: Gelato in flavors like Texas Pecan and Whiskey and Poteet Strawberry.
The Good Promise
The mom-and-daughter duo behind The Good Promise puts necessary vegetables into accessible products like pasta sauces and healthy smoothies.
Nominated product: Chilled juice smoothies in convenient to-go pouches.
The deciding round of this year's Quest for Texas Best is slotted for August 12-13 at the Houston Food Bank, where a panel of judges will decide who shows the most potential as a retail supplier. Four winners will receive cash prizes, with first-place taking home the $25,000 grand prize and consideration to be added to the shelves of H-E-B stores.
The group of finalists also includes five product makers from San Antonio, five from West Texas, seven from Dallas, six from Houston and three from the Rio Grande Valley.