- Texas-based grocer H-E-B is hosting its fifth annual "Primo Picks Quest for Texas Best" competition to find new products to be sold at its 400 stores.
- The grocer has selected 25 finalists from 700 participants across 140 Texas cities. Winners will be chosen by a panel of judges who will evaluate each product based on quality, marketability and readiness. The final stage of the competition will be held August 9-10.
- Finalists include 10 styles of French ice cream made by Lucienne Duforets at Houston-based Bellefontaine. Big Little Fudge created by two former employees of oil and gas companies, and seven flavors of cheesecake created by Chef Rey, executive chef for the Houston Rockets and Astros.
In the five years since it began, H-E-B's “Primo Picks Quest for Texas Best” competition has been a way to engage consumers and see the store as not just a place to pick up groceries, but a neighborhood grocer that stays true to its roots and supports local food producers.
The underlying message of the contest — as well as the products it has discovered — have proven to be a resounding success. H-E-B’s private label portfolio has grown since the launch of the contest. The retailer has since added 135 products that are made in Texas, and attracted a new set of customers searching for local products at a convenient grocery store.
H-E-B is continuing its annual competition rather than sourcing local products behind the scenes both to get consumers involved and as a marketing effort for the products. Consumers become invested in the products as they follow their journey from contest entrants to grocery shelves. There’s a good chance those same consumers will eventually purchase those products.
The demand for local products has been on the rise for years, and Americans are willing to pay more to support the local economy, create jobs and practice sustainable farming. Consumers are craving transparency, and knowing their products were made by a local producer puts them at ease — and in H-E-B’s case, feeds their Texas pride. Local food sales reached $12 million in 2014, and are estimated to hit $20 million by 2019, according to Packaged Facts.
In previous years, H-E-B didn't stop with the Primo competition. The retailer continued to market it long after winners were selected as a way to continue to drive consumer involvement. In 2017, the grocer launched a video contest throughout Texas for shoppers to create commercials for their favorite H-E-B Primo Picks. The 10 finalists were voted on by shoppers, and the winner received $25,000 and an appearance in the commercial.