WINNERS of the Dairy Industry Association of Australia (DIAA) WA Dairy Product Competition were personally presented with their awards over the past few weeks after the traditional awards ceremony was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The DIAA WA Dairy Product Competition received 169 entries in 44 product classes this year which were judged over one day by three judging panels at Perth's Stirling Community Centre.
Each judging panel consisted of three industry-experienced judges including DIAA WA chief judge Michael Rammer, who said the DIAA WA committee was proud to see so many competition entries recognised by manufacturers and consumers alike.
"Products entered spanned from milk, cream, flavoured milk, cheese, yoghurt, dairy desserts, ice cream and gelato, to non-bovine products, such as those made from goat milk," Mr Rammer said.
With the trophies, gold and silver certificates and product points usually presented to the winners at an annual gala dinner attended by all sectors of the dairy industry, he said this year the DIAA had to do things a little differently.
"Trophies and gold and silver members of the DIAA WA committee have travelled the State over the past week, delivering the good news to champions to congratulate them for an outstanding achievement - all while following the strictest of hygiene protocols," Mr Rammer said.
"As chief judge, I'd like to thank all manufacturers who participated in the competition and congratulate them for their achievements."
Brownes Dairy won the Champion Yoghurt with its Brownes Coconut Yoghurt and its products also won 10 gold and 15 silver medals.
"Interestingly, winning on home ground is trickier than winning awards interstate, so we are particularly pleased that these wins are a testament to the quality of our portfolio," said Brownes Dairy chief executive officer Tony Girgis.
The Hunt & Brew Cold Brew Honduras Coffee won Champion Flavoured Milk and a gold and two silver medals.
Bannister Downs Dairy received 20 gold and silver awards across State and national 2020 DIAA competitions with two dessert creams earning gold awards and its Fresh Cream and Farm Fresh Milk named the Champion Cream and Champion Milk in WA.
Bannister Downs Dairy managing director Sue Daubney said 2020 had been a difficult year for people all over the world and that the WA dairy industry hadn't been "immune from the economic impacts of COVID-19".
"These awards announcements have been a wonderful excuse to celebrate how far we've come in the 15 years since we've been on this journey," Ms Daubney said.
"We won't let this pandemic stop us - we've got lots of goals to work towards and these wins have given us a bit of pep in our step to go forward into the next half of 2020 and beyond."
Manufacturers are entitled to use the gold and silver medal artwork on the winning products for three years, while all gold medal winners are entitled to enter into the Australian Grand Dairy Awards (AGDA).
In the 2020 AGDA earlier this year, four of the 19 AGDA classes were won by three WA dairy companies: Brownes Dairy (class: Modified Milk), Lactalis Australia (Milk) and Mundella Foods (Flavoured Yoghurt and Yoghurt).
A DIAA spokesperson told Farm Weekly the 2020 DIAA National Awards, scheduled for May 14 and 15, had been tentatively rescheduled to October 1-2.
The organisation will reassess COVID-19 restrictions before confirming its plans.