Edwardsville-based Prairie Farms dominated this year’s World Dairy Expo Championship Dairy Product Contest. Out of 267 winners, the company took home 47 awards, or 18 percent of total awards, including the top honor of Grade A Grand Champion for Regular Small Curd Cottage Cheese.
The contest, held in Madison, Wisc., is one of the country’s most prestigious dairy judging competitions. Prairie Farms and its family of companies, including Hiland Dairy, won 15 first-place championship trophies, 19 second-place medallions, and 13 third-place medallions.
“Earning the right to market our products as ‘Best of the Best’ is an important recognition. The awards are indicative of the tireless efforts of our 700-plus farm families and 7,800 team members to produce the highest quality dairy products available. Our consistent commitment to excellence has positioned our farmer-owned cooperative as an industry leader for 83 years,” said Rebecca Leinenbach, Prairie Farms’ vice president of Marketing/Communications. “We surpassed the number of WDE awards we brought home in 2019 by 52 percent, and we’re excited to share our success with our customers.”
Prairie Farms made several strong showings, including Small Curd Cottage Cheese from its Carbondale, Ill., plant winning first place and a grand championship in the Regular Cottage Cheese category. Prairie Farms 4% Cottage Cheese from the Quincy, Ill., plant was close behind, earning second place in the category. Small Curd Lowfat Cottage Cheese from Carbondale also took first place in the Lowfat and No Fat Cottage Cheese category. Lowfat 2% Cottage Cheese from Hiland Dairy’s Chandler, Oklahoma plant took second place in the same category.
Big cheese wins for the Luana, Iowa, plant included Prairie Farms Baby Swiss Cheese taking top honors in the Swiss Styles category, Swiss Cheese earned second place in the same category. Luana’s Havarti earned third place in the Brick, Muenster, Havarti category and a first-place win for Cream Cheese in the Plain Cream Cheese category. Prairie Farms’ Shullsburg Creamery took first place with Cranberry Chipotle Cheddar in the Flavored Natural Cheeses category and third place for Bourbon Barrel Smoked Cracked Peppercorn Cheddar in the Smoked Flavored Natural Cheese category. Prairie Farms’ Caves of Faribault division took second place in the Blue Veined Cheeses category with St. Pete’s Select Blue Cheese. Prairie Farms’ Rochester Cheese plant earned second place in the Cold Pack Cheese, Cheese Food, and Cheese Spread category with Pasteurized Processed Swiss American Cheese.
It was a sweeping win for Prairie Farms in the UHT Milk & Aseptic Milk category with first, second, and third place awards for Whole Milk, and 2% Milk from its plants in Granite City, Ill., and Battle Creek, Mich. Prairie Farms also took first place with Whole Buttermilk in the Cultured Milk category, first place with 2% Chocolate Milk in the Lowfat Chocolate Milk 2% category, and third place for Whole Chocolate Milk in the Whole Chocolate Milk category. Hiland Dairy won first place with White Milk in the White Milk category. Prairie Farms UHT Salted Caramel Milk from Battle Creek secured a solid second place in the Open Class Flavored Milk category.
More strong showings from the World Dairy Expo came for Prairie Farms in the Yogurt, Sour Cream, Dips, and Whipping Cream categories, including a first-place finish for Whole Milk Vanilla Yogurt out of Quincy in the Vanilla Yogurt category and a first-place win for Quincy’s 3% Whole Milk Peach Yogurt in the Open Class Yogurt category. Hiland Dairy captured first place wins with Regular Sour Cream and Lite Sour Cream in the Sour Cream and Lowfat Sour Cream categories. Prairie Farms took second place with Lowfat Sour Cream in the same category.
In the Open Sour Cream Based Dips category, Prairie Farms took first place with Veggie Ranch Dip. Hiland Dairy scored second and third place with Sassy Salsa and Jalapeno Fiesta Dips in the Sour Cream Based Dips – Southwest category. Hiland Dairy earned third with Toasted Onion Dip in the Sour Cream Based Dips – Onion category.
In the Whipping Cream and Heavy Whipping Cream category, Granite City’s Heavy Whipping Cream came in second with a near-perfect score of 99.99.
Prairie Farms’ Rockford, Ill., plant brought home a second-place finish for Philly Vanilla Ice Cream in the Philly Vanilla category, while Hiland Dairy earned second with French Vanilla in the French Vanilla category. Prairie Farms’ Ice Cream Specialties Division netted third place with Strawberry Shortcake in the Strawberry Ice Cream category. Prairie Farms Salty Caramel from the Rockford plant received third place in the Ice Cream with Caramel category. Prairie Farms’ Luana plant brought home second place with Sweet Whey Powder within the Whey category.
The World Dairy Expo Championship Dairy Product Contest is sponsored by the Wisconsin Dairy Products Association.