LACTALIS SA’s Président extra mature cheddar was crowned the South African Dairy Product of the Year at the Agri-Expo Qualité Awards. This year’s award ceremony of the annual SA Dairy Championships, the largest dairy competition in Africa, was presented as a virtual event for the first time in its 187th anniversary in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Judging took place before the first coronavirus case was recorded in South Africa.
“The cancellation of the black-tie event does not put a damper on the fact that a record number of 975 products from 74 manufacturers competed in more than 100 different classes this year,” says Johan Ehlers, chief executive of Agri-Expo, organiser of the SA Dairy Championships. “The increase in entries and the fact that 11 new manufacturers joined, is good news for the dairy industry, which is being hampered by challenges such as the ongoing drought and now also the COVID-19 pandemic.”
It is the third time in five years Lactalis SA has won the Product of the Year award for one of its cheeses, says general manager Marek Warzywoda. “I am so proud of the LSA team. It is a clear indication of just how high the quality of our products is and how dedicated and diligent our teams are. We would like to thank Agri-Expo for another fantastic and well-organised competition and for upholding such high standards for the local dairy industry. Awards, in particular the Product of the Year accolades, are such incredible testaments to the LSA team’s ongoing ambition to deliver quality products.”
The chief judge of the championships, dairy expert Alan Fourie, says to produce an exceptional cheddar that can be matured for longer than 10 months is in itself quite a challenge. “The Président extra mature cheddar is full rounded with a sweet, nutty profile that melts in the mouth. Truly an exceptional product which deserves this award as Product of the Year.”