June 8, 2023


South Africa’s top-rated dairy products were recognised at the 190th edition of the SA Dairy Championships, the biggest and oldest dairy competition in Africa.

An Ayrshire Mozzarella, made especially for Woolworths by RFG Foods, was crowned the Dairy Product of the Year at the prestigious ceremony, held on 25 May 2023 at Eensgezind outside Durbanville.

The winning Woolworths 600g Ayrshire Mozzarella was one of 929 dairy products from 71 producers that competed for the attention of a team of 80 judges. From the high number of entries, 106 products were named SA Champions, standing out as winners in each championships class. This year, a total of 23 products were honoured with the Qualité mark of excellence.

“For a product to be chosen as Product of the Year in a competition of this nature is the dream of every dairy producer,” says dairy expert and chief judge Alan Fourie. “The 600 g Woolworths Ayrshire Mozzarella is an exceptional pizza mozzarella and worthy of this accolade. It is a firm and smooth cheese with a slightly creamy appearance that grates well and melts perfectly. Its creamy, soft, and caramelised flavour is out of the books.”

Other notable Qualité awards winners included Fairview which took 11 first prizes and 32 awards plus a Qualite award, Fair Cape Dairies, which won five awards; Lactalis South Africa, which took home four; De Pekelaar, which won three, and Polar Ice Cream Company, which walked off with two.

Another win of note was the La Montanara White Cheese and White Cheese with mint that took home first and third prize respectively in the Danish-Style Feta category. Additionally, the dairy powerhouse took home first prize for their Speciality Soft Cheese, third prize for the Royal Ashton in the Speciality Semi-Hard Cheese category, while ending off placing second prize for their Swellendammer in the Speciality Semi-Hard Cheese category.

According to Milford, this year’s high number of entries and excellent results testify to an innovative industry and healthy competition between bigger manufacturers and smaller entrepreneurs.

“The South African dairy industry needs to focus on innovation and adapt continuously to stay relevant in a highly competitive commercial and trading environment.” This is according to Dr Tertius Cilliers, a judge at the SA Dairy Championships and CEO of Synercore, an investment company focusing on innovation and total solutions in the food industry in Southern Africa.

“Despite the challenges we face within the dairy industry and in general as South Africans, this event is a reminder that change can be positive. The SA Dairy Championships is one of the annual highlights of the dairy industry calendar. Inspiring this year were the various new producers, innovative product entries and first-time judges who participated. It was fantastic to witness the growth in what has become a world-class event!”