The Comox Valley’s Tree Island Gourmet Yogurt won a Silver Award for Product of the Year on May 19 at the FoodProWest 2016 Awards Gala.
There were 35 nominees for this award, with Wize Monkey Coffee Leaf Tea taking home the Gold Award. More than 375 of B.C.’s top food processors and industry leaders attended the prestigious gala event hosted by the BC Food Processors Association.
“There were so many deserving nominees this year, and I have to give credit to our judges, who had a major challenge in selecting the winners of each award,” said James Donaldson, BCFPA CEO and executive director in a press release.
“The theme of FoodProWest this year was ‘An Appetite for Growth’, and each of this year’s winners exemplify passion and leadership in driving success for themselves and the businesses they work for.”
In three years, Tree Island Gourmet Yogurt has grown to supply its product to retailers throughout B.C., including more than two dozen Thrifty Foods locations.
“It means a lot to us to be recognized by our peers in the industry,” said Scott DiGuistini, a microbiologist and co-owner of Tree Island Gourmet Yogurt.
“We are pleased to be considered alongside other outstanding companies that share our dedication to making healthy food, innovation and protecting the environment.”
DiGuistini co-owns the business with his wife, Merissa Myles.
Last year, Tree Island Gourmet Yogurt rolled out new, highly innovative sustainable packaging, which contains 50 per cent less plastic than most. It is the first company in Canada to use these lightweight plastic containers that are reinforced with cardboard sleeves – a popular format in Europe.
Tree Island’s commitment to using fresh ingredients, including live cultures, 100 per cent B.C. honey, and milk from grass-fed Comox Valley cows, also set it apart in the dairy aisle.
“Ingredients matter, which is why we choose carefully,” said Myles. “We are proud to work with local dairies and use only 100 per cent fresh, local grass-fed milk in our recipes. We are therefore 100 per cent Canadian Milk Certified and our yogurt doesn’t contain any skim milk powder, thickeners or fillers.
“Now more than ever it is important for consumers to look for this marker. Dairy products with the 100 per cent Canadian Milk symbol guarantee that they are free of antibiotics and bovine growth hormones.”
“Merissa and Scott and their incredible agrifood business are a fine example of the progressive and innovative producers that are putting the Comox Valley on the map for its award-winning food and beverage production in British Columbia,” said John Watson, executive director of Comox Valley Economic Development.