Following in the footsteps of Parmalat's six-month matured Gouda which won the title in 2006, the Mature Gouda (10 months) made especially for Woolworths was crowned as the 2017 SA Dairy Product of the Year at the Agri-Expo Qualité Awards Gala.
Parmalat SA Woolworths Mature Gouda 10 months
854 products from 83 producers vied for the special attention of the 74 judges who ranged from food technologists to cheese retailers, and food bloggers to chefs. Sixteen were honoured with the Qualité mark of excellence and 95 were named SA Champion.
Milk now part of the fold
Following 183 years of hosting the competition, which is greatly revered by the local industry, Agri-Expo constantly searches for innovative ways of perfecting this process. For this purpose, new categories were established for pasteurised milk and UHT milk. “We are only too aware that not all milk are created equal and we were pleasantly surprised by the quality of entries we received,” says Johan Ehlers, Agri-Expo CEO. “The judges chose to award four milk products with the title of SA Dairy Champion: Clover for their Prisma UHT Full Cream and UHT Low Fat, Fairfield Dairy’s Woolworths Pasteurised Milk (Low Fat – Ayrshire), and the Woolworths Ayrshire Full Cream Milk by Rhodes Food Group.”
“The process of determining the Dairy Product of the Year from such classes as ice cream and butter, or cottage cheese and sheep’s milk cheese, is no easy feat,” says chief judge and international dairy expert Kobus Mulder. “Therefore, Agri-Expo instituted a new procedure whereby all the Qualité winners are lined up and evaluated to determine the most superior dairy product from amongst these exceptional products. In previous years the product with the highest overall score was awarded this honour.”
Growing goats milk niche
No less than 13 producers are newcomers to this year’s competition (of which five offers mainly goat’s milk products, indicating a steady growth in this niche product range).
According to first time entrant, Jason Sandell, co-finder of Las Paletas, an authoritative competition such as this is great for any brand, but especially so for artisan producers. “We chose to enter some of our 100% natural dairy products which have the widest appeal for the mass market,” he explains. (Las Paletas who produces handmade artisan sorbet and dairy lollies, wins a SA Champion award for their Grande Chocolate Lolly.) In an effort to promote continuous improvement and innovation, all entrants benefit from feedback from the judges.
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