McAllen Company Wins $25,000 Grand Prize

Grand Prize Winner ($25,000): Annie Leal - I Love Chamoy, Chamoy Salsa (McAllen); Courtesy Image
Grand Prize Winner ($25,000): Annie Leal – I Love Chamoy, Chamoy Salsa (McAllen); Courtesy Image

Texas Border Business

DALLAS, TX – After tastings and deliberations, H-E-B’s Quest for Texas Best judges have selected FIVE winners out of the top 10 finalists at the ninth annual competition. The winners of the 2022 event hail from McAllen, Lakeway, Houston, Dallas, and Guthrie, and received a combined $80,000 in cash prizes and coveted space on H-E-B store shelves statewide. 

Grand Prize Winner ($25,000):

I Love Chamoy – Sugar Free Chamoy

By Annie Leal | McAllen, TX

Courtesy Image

Chamoy was a staple of Annie Leal’s childhood growing up in Mexico. It made everything sweet and spicy and gave things like fruits and veggies the flavor of Mexican candy. When her dad was diagnosed with diabetes and could no longer enjoy this delicious Mexican sauce, she made it her mission to make this traditional staple of Mexican candy more accessible to people with different dietary needs. After spending months testing recipes and ingredients, she created the perfect sweet, tangy, and spicy chamoy – with no added sugar (since it’s sweetened with monk fruit) or artificial dyes and with 40-80% lesssodium than most chamoys on the market. I Love Chamoy is delicious with fruits, vegetables, aguas frescas, seltzers, and more.

“Each year we are amazed by the submissions. The creativity, passion, and determination is truly impressive and inspiring,” said James Harris, H-E-B’s Sr. Director, Diversity & Inclusion and Supplier Diversity. “H-E-B has been committed to diverse product offerings and workforce for more than a century. As we continue Florence Butt’s legacy of an entrepreneurial spirit, we are thrilled to shine light on these five outstanding businesses and their Texan-made products that will add to the diversity of products on our shelves and to our roster of small, local and diverse suppliers. This is one of the many ways we offer so much more at H-E-B.”

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Grand Prize Winner ($25,000):

Annie Leal – I Love Chamoy, Chamoy Salsa (McAllen) 

First Place Winner ($20,000):

Ashley Cameron – Love & Cookies, Frozen Cookie Dough (Lakeway) 

Second Place Winner ($15,000):

Karim and Mansour Arem – ZWITA, Spicy Traditional Harissa (Houston)

Third Place Winner ($10,000) – TIED:

Brent and Juan Reaves – Smokey John’s, Smokey John’s BBQ Rub (Dallas)

Third Place Winner ($10,000) – TIED:

Burnett Ranches LLC – Four Sixes Ranch, Chuck Wagon Chile Mix (Guthrie)

The judges included: Winell Herron, H-E-B Group Vice President of Public Affairs, Diversity, and Environmental Affairs; Mike Jarzombek, H-E-B Northwest Division Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing; Ashwin Nathan, H-E-B Vice President of Marketing and Advertising; Chris Cecchine, Vice President Sales and Promotional Strategy; Shirin Odar, Group Vice President, Marketing; Bob Phillips, Texas Country Reporter; and Erin Booke, Food Editor, Dallas Morning News.

Since launching the contest in 2014, H-E-B has reviewed more than 5,381 samples of the most creative and mouthwatering Texas-made food, beverages, and general merchandise, deemed more than 860 products worthy of shelf placement, awarded nearly half a million dollars in prize money and $900,000 with in-kind marketing and mentoring support. Quest for Texas Best alumni have claimed more than $2 million from other contests, grant programs, and angel investors to help grow their businesses.   H-E-B has awarded 37 Quest for Texas Best Suppliers with the coveted $1 million belt buckle, deemed the people’s choice award based on customer purchases.  

Now in its ninth year, H-E-B Quest for Texas Best has expanded its search for the finest foods, beverages and general merchandise in the Lone Star State. In addition to food creators and innovators, Texas-based purveyors of beauty items, toys, home goods, household necessities, gardening supplies, coolers, and everything in between are up for consideration. 

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