Gifford’s takes top honors at ice cream competition for fifth consecutive year

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For the fifth consecutive year, Gifford’s Famous Ice Cream took home top honors from the World Dairy Expo Championship Dairy Product Contest — the first ice cream company to win that many times in a row.

Lindsay Gifford-Skilling, the general manager of Gifford’s, said that her family-run company is thrilled about the win.

“It’s a huge accomplishment and honor. We don’t have the words to describe how we feel. We’re very excited. We have a great team,” she said.

Gifford’s, based in Skowhegan, pays special attention to the ingredients and process used to create its ice cream. In an interview with the Bangor Daily News in August, the Gifford family explained that they choose the best ingredients and follow a manufacturing process designed to make their ice cream extra flavorful and creamy.

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Their commitment to quality has paid off, and Gifford’s World’s Best Chocolate Ice Cream was selected out of 150 ice cream entries from across the nation to win the prestigious 2014 Ice Cream Grand Champion in the World Dairy Expo Championship Dairy Product Contest, the leading dairy and ice cream competition in North America. The Wisconsin Dairy Products Association sponsors the annual competition.

“Many in the industry liken our annual competition to the Academy Awards of Dairy, and as a five-time grand champion, Gifford’s Famous Ice Cream is our Meryl Streep,” Bradley Legreid, executive director of the Wisconsin Dairy Products Association, said in a press release. “This is the first time a company has ever won the grand champion title five years in a row. It’s impressive, and it speaks to the superior quality of Gifford’s ice cream.”

Additionally, Old-Fashioned Vanilla, French Vanilla and Vanilla Bean all won first place in individual categories.

Gifford-Skilling and fellow Gifford’s management (and siblings) J.C. Gifford, vice president of sales, and Samantha Gifford, marketing coordinator, received the awards on Tuesday in Wisconsin.

“We just got back last night from getting the award. …The Grand Champion Award was very heavy to carry through the airport,” Gifford-Skilling laughed.

She and her siblings had tucked the awards inside carry-on bags, which landed them a little extra attention at airport security.

“We kind of got pulled to the side, and they were looking through our awards,” said Gifford-Skilling.

The TSA officials ended up congratulating the trio and chatting about ice cream.

To celebrate the win, Gifford’s is hosting The High Five Ice Cream Sweepstakes, which begins Oct. 10. The contest will run for 10 days, and participants will have the opportunity to win prizes such as free ice cream and concert tickets. To learn more about the contest, visit the Gifford’s Facebook page or www.giffordsicecream.com.

Gifford’s also was named the 2014 Retailer of the Year by the Retail Association of Maine on Wednesday. The award will be presented at the Retail Association of Maine’s 81st annual meeting on Oct. 16 at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.

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