Yes, vegans love cheese and other related goodies and going vegan doesn’t mean you have to do without - far from it. Here are our top tips.
If you can’t find what you want in a shop, go online – the choice is overwhelming! Browse the Viva! Shop for parmesan alternatives or click on the links below for a range of gorgeous cheeses that you won’t find in supermarkets.
And click on the Vegan Recipe Club's mighty cheese blog recommendations - which cheeses are 'best on' what, from jack potatoes to pizza and much more!
Sometimes we call it vegan cheese, sometimes cheeze and sometimes Gary (a long story!). Whatever you decide, it has improved over the years, as has the range of products and flavours.
What types are there?
Hard or creamy – with assorted flavours. The following list highlights just some of the offerings available but it is by no means an exhaustive list as vegan cheese brands are springing up all the time. There's also currently a bit of a vegan cheese postcode lottery, with some supermarket branches carrying huge ranges of all vegan/free from foods and others not (even within the same company!). Please keep asking your local branch and lobbying the supermarket customer services too. That way they know there's a demand.
Updated December 2017.
Hard cheese in around nine flavours including mozzarella, blue, cheddar and a rather good parmesan alternative called ‘Hard Italian-style’. Some flavours melt, others don’t. Melting Cheezly is available in Mozzarella-style and is good for pizzas. There is also a soya-free variety – and a Christmas selection pack. VBites sells its Cheezly in Holland & Barrett, some supermarkets, most health food shops, its own cafés and online.
Creamy cheese: six flavours including Original (good for cheesecake); Garlic & Herb; Olive. All types are good on pizza Hard cheese: creamy smooth slices (Mozzarella and Cheddar); and grated Mozzarella – good for pizzas
This Swiss company sells seven delicious flavours including Piquant (a bit like Parmesan); Walnut; Melty and more – also ready-made, deliciouscheese sauce. They also sell deli slices, roasts and lots more. Some health food shops or online.
Found in most largeish supermarkets. They sell blocks, slices - which melt - and also the delicious Prosociano, a vegan alternative to Parmesan which is very good. We've seen this in Bristol's large Tesco but keep hassling your own branches!
NOTE: ALLERGENS VS VEGAN?
If an item contains no animal ingredients but the packaging states may contain traces of milk/egg… this means the item is essentially vegan. Companies who make a variety of foods have to clean the production lines thoroughly between different batches, eg foods containing nuts, soya, dairy etc.
Any traces would be microscopic and are not actually added to the product you buy – and they don’t contribute to animal suffering.
The UK’s Food Standards Agency states: we would not be against a food that is labelled as vegan carrying a warning on the label that it is produced in a factory or on a line where certain dairy products or allergenic foods are also handled and used.
From an ethical point of view, most vegan groups agree that this is an acceptable compromise. While it is undoubtedly better to support dedicated vegan companies, it isn’t always practical. Being able to buy items from mainstream companies widens the choice of products available and makes a change of diet less daunting to new vegans.
However, this compromise may not be suitable for those with severe allergies. As ever, when in doubt, check with the manufacturer.