SOUTH AFRICA – Lactalis South Africa’s 10-months Mature Gouda, made especially for Woolworths, was crowned the South African Dairy Product of the Year at the South African Dairy Awards.

This is the third time in a row that this particular product from Lactalis has scooped the Dairy Product of the Year accolade, an unrivalled achievement for the SA Dairy Championships, now in its 188th year of existence.

The Gouda, an aromatic and full-flavoured cheese, was one of almost 900 dairy products from 68 producers that vied for the attention of the 60 judges.

“For a product to be chosen as Dairy Product of the Year in a competition of this nature is the dream of every cheesemaker,” says dairy expert and chief judge Alan Fourie.

“That the honour befalls this year’s winner of the prestigious title for the third time, is exceptional. The Woolworths 10-months Mature Gouda truly is a product that has stood the test of time, but also a proof of the continued use of excellent ingredients. Technically and gastronomically, it is as close to perfection as a cheese product can come,” added Alan.

Marek Warzywoda, General Manager, Lactalis South Africa (LSA), said his team was overjoyed at having the choice Extra Mature Gouda named as the Product of the Year for an unprecedented third time.

“In addition, this is also the fourth time we’ve claimed the overall top award in five years. Team LSA’s hard work, dedication and ambition to produce top quality products have once again paid off. We are immensely proud of our 2021 SA Dairy Championships performance,” he said.

Apart from the main prize, LSA received the Qualité mark of excellence and South African Champions awards.

The Qualité mark of excellence is only given to the crème de la crème of the entries and this year only eight were honoured with this accolade.

LSA was awarded Qualités for its Président Mature Gouda (6-months Matured) and the 10-months Matured Gouda produced for Woolworths.

The other winners in the category include Clover-Frankfort for its Mooi River Salted Butter and Clover Salted Butter Mini Tubs; Famous Brands Cheese Company for its Steers Processed Cream Cheese Spread – Onion and Chives; Fairview Cheese Company for Woolworths Chevin with Garlic and Herb; Fair Cape Dairies for Checkers’ Vanilla Flavoured Custard; and De Pekelaar Boerenkaas for its De Pekelaar Boerenkaas Old.

“This is also the fourth time we’ve claimed the overall top award in five years.We are immensely proud of our 2021 SA Dairy Championships performance.”

Marek Warzywoda – General Manager, Lactalis South Africa

From all the extraordinary products entered this year, 106 were selected as South African Champions.

LSA claimed 17 SA Champion awards for products ranging from yoghurt, cream cheese, Gouda, and Cheddar, to Feta, flavoured butter, dairy ice cream and Pizza Mozzarella.

The SA Dairy Championships has been presented by Agri-Expo with great success since 1834.

Its aim is to significantly promote excellence in the dairy industry and elevates the profile of the industry amongst consumers.

The championships consist of ten categories i.e., cheese, butter, yoghurt, cottage cheese, ice cream, cultured and flavoured milk, dairy desserts, dairy dips, milk and UHT milk, cream and more than 100 classes for end products in the dairy industry.

According to Johan Ehlers, CEO of Agri-Expo, most important international dairy events worldwide were cancelled in 2020 and postponed in 2021.

However, the SA Dairy Championship took place courtesy of the support and commitment from its partners i.e., Synercore, Agri-Expo, AECI Food & Beverage, the Western Cape Department of Agriculture, Condio, Hollard, the Milk Producers’ Organisation (MPO), The Dairy Mail, Woolworths, MANE, Orchem, Polyoak Packaging, IMCD, Tetra Pak, Oasis, Simonsig and Veritas.

“The extraordinary products entered by 68 manufacturers this year are reasons for us to be optimistic about the future of the dairy industry in South Africa. We salute you for your ingenuity, teamwork and commitment to excellence,” concluded Ehlers.

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