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Dairy Product of the Year: Woolies/Lactalis do it again!

Woolworths Mature Gouda outperforms 1 000 others to win South African Dairy Product of the Year

A 10-month-old mature gouda, made especially for Woolworths by Lactalis South Africa, was crowned the Dairy Product of the Year at the prestigious SA Dairy Awards on Thursday 25 April 2024 at Eensgezind outside Durbanville.

The winning Woolworths Mature Gouda 10 months was one of a record number of 1 029 dairy products from 78 producers, including 12 first-time entrants, that vied for the attention of the judges, a team of 82 representing 52 companies.

From the high number of entries, 110 products were selected as SA Champions, standing out as winners in each championships class.

Thirty products were awarded with the esteemed Qualité mark of excellence, the only mark of excellence in the South African dairy industry (see the full list of crème de la crème below).

“Every dairy producer’s dream is to have their product selected as Product of the Year in a competition like this,” says chief judge and dairy expert Graham Sutherland. “The Woolworths 10-month mature Gouda has established a legacy for exceptional quality over a period of time.

“What makes it so unique is the combination of taste and texture, which produces a flavourful and satisfying tasting experience. The producer has put all the necessary measures in place to ensure that the quality of this cheese is maintained to the highest standard, and the competency of the cheesemaker is incredibly high. With this product, they have discovered an extremely potent winning formula.”

Six wins in eight years

Herman Janse van Rensburg, GM for Lactalis South Africa, says his team is thrilled about claiming the 2024 Product of the Year award. “We are excited that the top dairy award has gone to team Lactalis South Africa for an incredible sixth time in the past eight years.

“This is a wonderful achievement. Thank you to all our dedicated teams who work incredibly hard and always strive to maintain the high-quality standards our consumers expect from us as a company. Also, thank you to Agri-Expo for providing this opportunity to showcase South Africa’s dairy expertise.”

This year’s event marked the 191st edition of the SA Dairy Championships, the biggest and oldest dairy competition in Africa. Breyton Milford, GM of Agri-Expo, the host of the event since 1834, says the championships underscores the diversity and extensive array of products the industry manufactures, but it also shines a spotlight on the significant contribution the dairy sector makes to the South African economy.

Chris Fourie, President of Agri-Expo, and Breyton Milford, GM of Agri-Expo. Front: Linda Segalla of IMCD (Platinum Partner), Arnold Nieuwoudt of Lactalis South Africa, and Tsitsi Nyamugama of dsm-firmenich (Platimum Partner).

The inaugural Hollard Game Changer Award: Agri-Expo honours youngster

Agri-Expo honoured 34-year-old Clement October, head cheesemaker at Klein River Cheese, with the inaugural Hollard Game Changer Award along with a cash prize of R50 000. October has been part of the award-winning Klein River Cheese team for 15 years, with the last three years at the helm.

According to Milford, this new accolade for the SA Dairy Championships is dedicated to honouring young individuals who have already made significant strides in the dairy industry. “It should serve as both recognition of their achievements and encouragement to continue their pursuit of excellence.”

Andries Wiese, National Business Development Manager of Hollard, Clement October, Head Cheesemaker of Klein River Cheese and Breyton Milford, GM of Agri-Expo.

Supporting excellence and promoting innovation and quality

“This year’s record number of entries and excellent results testify to an innovative industry with healthy competition between bigger manufacturers and smaller entrepreneurs,” says Milford. “Congratulations to Fairview for winning six Qualité awards; Fair Cape Dairies for claiming five; Belnori Boutique Cheesery, who took home four; Lactalis South Africa, who won three; Fairfield, Lancewood, and Polar Ice Cream Company who were each awarded two Qualité’s; as well as all the other winners.”

Agri-Expo thanks all partners for their support in facilitating the SA Dairy Championships. “We appreciate our new three-year platinum partnership with IMCD and Dsm-firmenich, alongside our diamond partners Chr.Hansen and Synercore, gold partners Checkers, Hollard, 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 expresses their commitment to supporting excellence in the dairy industry and promoting innovation and quality. “Committing to the SA Dairy Championships for the next three years reflects IMCD’s long-term dedication to fostering growth and recognition within the dairy community,” says Segalla. “With our expertise and commitment to the industry, IMCD is the ideal partner to help elevate the market to new heights.”

For more information, visit


The Qualité Mark of Excellence, the dairy industry’s sole mark of excellence, is reserved for select products of exceptional quality that have achieved a specific minimum score on the international scorecard. The product securing the highest score is crowned Product of the Year.


  • Woolworths Cambozola
  • Woolworths Medium Fat Cream Cheese – Plain
  • Woolworths Raspberry Roulade with Pink Peppercorns
  • Woolworths Cream Cheese Tomato & Herb
  • Woolworths Brie de Roche
  • Woolworths Roydon


  • Woolworths Fresh Custard with Vanilla Bean Seeds (Honourable Mention: Second Place Overall)
  • Woolworths Ayrshire Double Cream Lemon Curd Yoghurt
  • Woolworths Chocolate Mousse
  • Low Fat Granadilla Flavoured Yoghurt
  • Full Cream Peaches & Cream Flavoured Yoghurt


  • Mulderswood
  • Windsor – Madagascan Green Peppercorns
  • St Francis of Ashishi
  • Nederwood


  • Woolworths Mature Gouda – 10 months (2024 SA Dairy Product of the Year)
  • Président Mature Gouda – 6 months
  • Woolworths Mature Gouda – 24 months


  • First Choice Double Cream Plain Yoghurt
  • Woolworths Organic Low Fat Chunky Cottage Cheese Plain


  • Medium Fat Cream Cheese – Plain
  • Low Fat Drinking Yoghurt – Toffee Fudge Flavoured


  • Polar Premier Swiss Chocolate – Chocolate Ice Cream
  • Polar Signature Salted Caramel Ice Cream with Salted Caramel Sauce

BEL SOUTH AFRICA (1): The Laughing Cow Full Fat Cheese Spread – Plain (Wedges)

CRICKLEY DAIRY (1): Medium Fat Yoghurt – Cape Fruit

DE PEKELAAR (1): Matured Gouda (Honourable Mention: Third Place Overall)

KLEIN RIVER CHEESE (1): Gruberg Vintage

MARCEL’S GOURMET FROZEN YOGHURT (1) :Woolworths Mint Flavoured Dairy Ice Cream with Dark Chocolate Chips

MORNING MILK (1): Round Gouda

Source: AgriExpo

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