March 9, 2024

Record-Breaking Entries at 191st South African Dairy Championships

South African Dairy Championships

The dairy industry set new benchmarks this year at the 191st South African Dairy Championships. The judging of this national dairy competition, the largest and oldest in Africa, kicked off on Thursday, 7 March 2024 at Eensgezind outside Durbanville, and continued until Friday, 8 March.

This year witnessed record participation, with 78 dairy producers submitting a total of 1,029 dairy products. An 86-member jury was tasked with the challenging job of reviewing these numerous entries over the span of two days.

At the SA Dairy Championships, there are more than 100 categories including a wide range of dairy products such as cheese, yogurt, milk, cream, ice cream, and butter. Winners in each category receive the prestigious SA Champion title. The Qualité Mark of Excellence, the highest accolade in the dairy industry, is awarded to outstanding products that meet a certain threshold on an international evaluation scale. The highest-scoring product among all is honored as the Product of the Year.

South African Dairy ChampionshipsBreyton Milford, General Manager of Agri-Expo, the host of the championships since 1834, expressed this society’s privilege in showcasing the dairy industry’s top quality through this esteemed agricultural event. Milford remarked, “The record-breaking number of entries underscores the confidence industry stakeholders place in this competition to set a benchmark for excellence.”

Chief judge Graham Sutherland noted the championships’ fierce competition, stating, “Our entries surpassed the 1 000 marks for the first time.” Sutherland added, “At the conclusion of the first day, I can report that the cheese entries demonstrated a commendable standard. The championships stimulate innovation, and this year once again highlighted the tireless efforts of our passionate manufacturers dedicated to exhibiting their products here.”

Sutherland emphasised the complexity of a competition of this magnitude, saying, “That’s why we have five judges per category selected from various sectors of the dairy industry, including cheese makers, quality managers, food technologists, and marketing experts.” As a seasoned food technologist, Sutherland brings many years of international experience in the sensory evaluation of dairy products. He highlighted, “Due to the record number of entries, we now have to process more than 5,000 scoresheets to determine the final results.”

Milford expressed Agri-Expo’s gratitude for the support of partners facilitating the SA Dairy Championships. “We are pleased to announce a new three-year platinum partnership with IMCD and DSM, alongside our diamond partners Chr.Hansen and Synercore, gold partners Checkers, Orchem, IFF, Woolworths, and the Western Cape Department of Agriculture, silver partners Condio and Pick n Pay, as well as bronze partner Mane.”

Linda Segalla from IMCD South Africa expressed IMCD’s commitment to supporting excellence in the dairy industry and promoting innovation and quality. Segalla stated, “Committing to the South African Dairy Championships for the next three years reflects IMCD’s long-term dedication to fostering growth and recognition within the dairy community. With our expertise and commitment to the industry, IMCD is the ideal partner to help elevate the market to new heights.”

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