Alqueria Dairy (Bogota, Colombia), Alqueria Dairy (Santa Marta, Colombia), Prairie Farms (Carlinville, Ill.) and Umpqua Dairy Products Co. (Roseburg, Ore.) took the top Quality Chekd honors in dairy excellence, plant performance and marketing, respectively, at the 2016 QCS Leadership Conference in April.

The annual conference included key dairy supply services, a supplier trade show and educational workshops. Members and suppliers of QCS Purchasing partners, Quality Chekd Dairies, SECO and Allied Purchasing attended this year’s conference.

Quality Chekd honored Alqueria Dairy (Santa Marta, Colombia) with the Irving B. Weber Distinguished Award for Quality Excellence. In capturing the Weber Award, Alqueria Dairy achieved the highest combined annual score of all Quality Chekd members for their Santa Marta plant in the categories of leadership, customer satisfaction, production quality, marketing communications, staff development and business ethics. 

Named for Quality Chekd’s first board president, the Weber Award is modeled after the esteemed Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award from the U.S. Department of Commerce. Dairies competing for this award undergo an extensive, 12-month process involving on-site assessments, monthly finished product testing, a quality compliance evaluation and leadership questionnaires for one plant location.

The finalists for the Weber Award were Alqueria Dairy (Medellin, Colombia), Hiland Dairy Foods Company (Norfolk, Neb.) and Sunshine Dairy Foods Inc., (East), (Portland, Ore.).

Two 2016 Production Excellence Awards in the Cultured Products and Ice Cream categories, honoring the best single production plant within the Quality Chekd membership, were awarded to the Umpqua Dairy Foods Co. The plant was judged to have produced the highest quality product, received exemplary scores during site evaluations and achieved manufacturing excellence surpassing all other Quality Chekd member facilities.

The Production Excellence Award in the Milk Fluid category went to Alqueria Dairy of Santa Marta, Colombia.

Finalists for the Production Excellence Award-Cultured Products Category were Sunshine Dairy Foods Inc., (East), (Portland, Ore.) and Hiland Dairy Foods Co. (Norman, Okla.). Finalists in the ice cream category were Lochmead Dairy (Junction City, Ore.) and Hiland Dairy Foods (Norfolk, Neb.). Fluid milk finalists were Alqueria Dairy (Palmira, Colombia), Hiland Dairy Foods (Fort Smith, Ark.) and Prairie Farms (Anderson, Ind.).

The 2016 Outstanding Marketing Achievement Award in the ‘Best Single Product Campaign’ was presented to Prairie Farms of Carlinville, Ill., for superior marketing achievement and top communication of its brand. Alqueria Dairy of Bogota, Colombia won the 2016 Outstanding Marketing Achievement Award in the Best Integrated Marketing Campaign.

The marketing achievement awards are judged by an independent panel that reviews each dairy’s product plan, marketing plan, promotional materials, merchandising programs, ability to enhance brand awareness and generate positive sales results. The other finalists for these awards included Galliker Dairy Co. (Johnstown, Pa.), Oakhurst Dairy (Portland, Maine) and Umpqua Dairy Products.

There were four Product Judging Award winners. Belfonte Ice Cream & Dairy Foods Co. (Kansas City, Mo.) won for best vanilla ice cream. SmithFoods Inc. (Orville, Ohio) won for best chocolate ice cream. Belfonte won for best cottage cheese and Hiland Dairy Foods (Omaha, Neb.) won for best sour cream. The best whole buttermilk award went to Prairie Farms Dairy (Holland, Ind.) and Hiland Dairy Foods Co. (Springfield, Mo.) won for best low-fat buttermilk. Hiland Dairy Foods Co. (Chandler, Okla.) won for best regular eggnog and Oakhurst Dairy for best lite eggnog.

QCS Purchasing presented QCS Leadership Awards to Cumberland Dairy, Rosenhayn, N.J.; Superior Dairy, Canton, Ohio; CSC Sugar, New Canaan, Conn.; and Orbis Corp., Oconomowoc, Wis.

“This annual leadership conference not only honors those members who distinguish themselves in key areas of importance, but also allows every attendee the chance to collect new ideas which they can then take home and integrate into the various segments of their daily operation,” said Peter Horvath, president and CEO of QCS Purchasing, Quality Chekd Dairies and SECO.