HEB holds tasty competition for new supermarket products

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HEB's 'Quest for the best' gives local companies big break.

If you're tired of the same dinner recipes night after night, HEB is looking for new products to inspire you in the kitchen.

The contest is called the Quest for Texas Best. There were almost 500 entries, but we have a sneak peek at the unique foods made by some of the finalists -- for Texans, by Texans.

Sabrosos Salsa is one of the finalists among hundreds of products in HEB's Quest for Texas Best competition. The company makes salsas like the En Fuego, which is made with the scorpion pepper, grown in League City.

"We just grow it at our house, and so it's quite easy for us to make a bunch of batches," said company Vice President, Kris Maloney.

There are cash prizes for the top winners, but the real prize is a spot on store shelves, according to HEB's James Harris.

"You have an opportunity to get on HEB store shelves, and get a coveted spot to ship to more than 300 stores across the state of Texas, so it's a lot of fun for them and for us," he said.

Other finalists from the Houston area include Blank and Sons Beef Jerky. The black pepper flavor is a favorite, according to Damon Blank.

"It's a good heat," he said. "It takes a little for it to kick in, but once it kicks in it's not a painful heat, it's just a good warmth."

It wouldn't be a Lone Star State-worthy competition without barbecue sauce, like the one described by Michael Briggs of Briggs True Texas.

"It's got two ingredients that aren't usually found in barbecue sauce: bourbon and bacon with a spicy overtone," he explained.

Don't forget the pickles made by the Texas Pickle Company with the promise of freshness.
"We use all natural products. We don't use preservatives, additives or dyes. They're straight off the farm," said Thomas Wedin, the company founder.

Last but not least, dinner must come with desserts. Reina Meals makes traditional treats like vanilla flan and rice pudding which are gluten-free, low fat and low cholesterol.

"We think it's a healthy option instead of a candy bar, or a high syrup content."

In our Texas heat, Trentino Gelato Pops also made the competition finals.

"We found this recipe working with local farmers, and we are very proud of them," said Trentino's Marcelo Kriendel.

Some winning items may be on store shelves in the next few months, but for most, you may have to wait a little longer.
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