Five Austin food companies are in the running for $70,000 in prizes from H-E-B in this sixth annual Quest for Texas Best competition.

The San Antonio-based grocer hosts an annual contest for Texas-based food companies to help them expand their businesses. More than 820 businesses (from 136 Texas cities and towns) entered this year's contest, and 20 of them were announced last week as finalists, including five from the Austin area. 

They are Smokey Denmark Sausage Company, which is pitching its Big Bark Beer Brats; Courtney Ray Goodson's Uncle Ray's Peanut Brittle; a caffeinated bottled water from Push Water Company in Dripping Springs; Exo's whole roasted crickets and protein bars; and the Hutto-based Basia's Pickles.

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The entrepreneurs will present their products in front of a panel of judges at the Houston Food Bank August 7 and 8. The grand prize winner will take home $25,000, first place $20,000, second place $15,000 and third place $10,000.

“Since its inception in 2014, our sourcing team has sifted through more than 3,000 products in the Quest for Texas Best competition. This contest has yielded nearly 450 unique products worthy of company-wide distribution and awarded nearly $400,000 in prize money,” said James Harris, director of diversity and inclusion and supplier diversity. “We continue to be amazed at what Texans bring to the table and how their creations are received in stores.”

You can find the full list of finalists at