H-E-B's Quest for Texas Best contest is back for its ninth year. This contest is one of the best ways to get your products into H-E-B stores. It begins with a video submission and could end with you winning up to $25,000 and having your products on H-E-B shelves.
Making sure sustainably ethical businesses have every chance to thrive is what we do so, we sat in on the first information meeting to see what it takes to be named Texas Best.
What is the Quest for Texas Best?
Nine years ago, H-E-B began a contest that helped them find some of the best products in the state. This continued the long-standing tradition of selling locally sourced products and valuing the people that produce them. Since Quest for Texas Best began nearly 200 contestants' have seen their products on the shelves of H-E-B's grocery stores.
Each year draws many applicants, but only 10 will be selected as finalists for the 2022 contest. Those 10 will have the chance to compete for 4 winning positions with prize money from $10,000 to $25,000.
Why Should I Submit?
You can very easily submit your company to be on the H-E-B supplier list. However, when you submit to this contest your application and submission video will be looked at by the sourcing team. This is a guaranteed way to get your products in front of the right people at H-E-B.
What is the Timeline?
The contest opened just after midnight on February 23rd and closes at 4:59:59 pm on April 7th. That deadline is important as 5:00 pm will be too late. After submissions close, there will be around a two-month period where the entries will be reviewed. Then in June, the finalists will be notified. The finals will take place in Dallas, TX at Fair Park from August 24-26.
What Does the Application Process Involve?
There are six steps within the application. Each will give you the chance to highlight your product(s) to the best of your ability.
Section One: Rules
The first section will give you an overview of everything that you need before moving forward. There isn't a save function on this application so make sure you have everything ready to go before you begin. This includes the video submission.
You'll have to acknowledge the rules so make sure you read them. They will answer a good number of questions you make have about what is and isn't allowed. When in doubt, just enter.
Section Two: The Company
This section is where you'll give basic information about you and your company. This includes your name, company name, social media handles, and other contact information. It is extremely important that you double-check all the information on this page. If you are a finalist, this is the information they will use to get in touch with you. You can't win if they can't contact you.
Section Three: Market
So, you sell a product. Do you know who your customer is? H-E-B will need to know the best customer base to market to and this is where you will tell them. It is a great way to show that you already have a handle on the business and who you are selling to.
Section Four: Story
You have an amazing product that your customers love. Here's your chance to tell H-E-B all about it. You will submit a two-minute video (This is the MAX time, it can be shorter) and a written portion (up to 5000 characters) that will tell the story of you, your business, and your product. There is a short video by 2014 finalist Lamar Jones of The Jank BBQ that explains exactly what H-E-B is looking for. High-quality production is not needed, substance is the goal. Here are some highlights to think about:
Talk about HOW and WHERE your product is made?
Mention why your customers love it and why you are passionate about it.
Tell H-E-B why they need this product in their stores.
Your video will need to be uploaded to some type of video page. (YouTube is highly recommended.) Make sure it is a public video so that the reviewers can easily get to it.
Section Five: Products
After you've told them all about it, H-E-B wants to see your product. In section five, you'll upload all the information on your product in regards to how much it costs you to make and what the suggested retail price is. You'll also need to include a photo of the product. This should be a photo of the packaged product that a customer would see on the shelves. Don't show a bowl of salsa or an image of cake. How will your product look when the customer walks into a store? Also, note that you will be able to enter up to three products in this section.
Section Six: Review and Submit
Take the time to review all the data you've entered and make sure everything is correct. Then click that submit button. The sooner you submit the better as it will give the team more time to look at your application. As Crystal said in the meeting, "Don't rush but don't wait."
Other Things You Should Know
You May Get a Call During the Review Process. As the committee is reviewing your submission they may contact you for further information. It is possible for them to want to visit the site where you make your products or ask more questions for clarification.
This is Not a Guarantee that You'll End Up in H-E-B. If you win you will get the prize money and a CHANCE to end up on shelves. Your product will have to meet certain federal guidelines in order to get there. It is not necessary to have all of this together at the time of submission but the more store ready you are the greater your chances.
You Haven't Lost Just Because You Didn't Win. H-E-B has put over 700 locally made products on their shelves. Just because you don't win or make it as a finalist doesn't mean you don't have a good viable product. Want to get your product some extra notice? Entering this contest is the way. For more information on getting your products store ready, view this video.
Non-food Items Are Eligible. This contest welcomes all items that meet eligibility rules. Just because you don't sell food, doesn't mean that you don't have a chance. If you think you have a winning product that H-E-B could use or sell, enter it!
If you missed this information session you can attend the one happening on March 24th. Here is the link to register. However, you should start preparing all the information you need to submit now. You don't want to wait and be put in a position of having to rush through your application. START NOW.
We had the opportunity to chat more with Crystal Royal, the Supplier Diversity Manager. See the recording of that meeting here.