Your vegan food game is about to get the level 10 upgrade you’ve been waiting for. You can say goodbye to lonely nacho chips, prepare for your pasta to get wildly creamy, and never have to bite into a dry, disappointing burger again. These vegan cheese brands are making delicious dairy-free cheeses that melt, stretch, and deliver stellar flavor. And bonus: these vegan cheeses are healthy, too.
Cheese is widely considered one of the hardest foods to “give up.” Some believe its stretchiness, gooeyness, creaminess, and flavor is difficult to replicate and for decades, many collectively decided that “good vegan cheese” is nothing but an oxymoron.
But food companies are stepping up to the plate to prove this idea wrong, creating mouthwatering dairy-free cheese that takes plant-based eating to the next level. These vegan cheese brands not only taste great but sidestep many of the health, ethical, and environmental concerns linked to dairy-based cheese.
Is Cheese Healthy?
Cheese can be a good source of calcium, however, it is also high in sodium, cholesterol, and saturated fat. The World Health Organization has urged for the lowered intake of saturated fats found in dairy (and eggs and meat) in an effort to curb high rates of cardiovascular disease. Saturated fat is also linked to type-2 diabetes and liver disease.
Dairy consumption has been linked to asthma, acne, osteoporosis, and digestion issues. Dr. Greger, founder of NutritionFacts.org, believes dairy can increase the risk of cancer. American biochemist Dr. T. Colin Campbell, who specializes in the effect of nutrition on health, maintains that those who consume dairy double or quadruple their risk of developing prostate cancer.
It might not be a coincidence that many struggle to remove dairy-based cheese from their diet. Some scientists state that cheese contains a chemical similar to those found in addictive hard drugs.
Dairy Cow Treatment
Animal welfare concerns are also motivating people to ditch dairy for good. Cows only produce milk to feed their young, which means that in order to make milk for human consumption, cows must be impregnated so that they continuously produce milk. Each time they give birth, their calves are taken away within a day, according to animal rights group PETA. “Mother cows sometimes wail for their calves for days after separation,” the animal rights organization said last year.
Calves born into the dairy industry are typically sent to slaughter to be sold as veal or raised for beef.
As well as cruelty toward animals, the cheese industry impacts the planet. The dairy sector requires vast amounts of land and water and is responsible for huge amounts of carbon emissions. One study found that 74 grams of CO2 is generated to make one serving of cheese, while plant-based foods like beans and lentils only produce 1.9 and 2 grams of carbon respectively.
These vegan cheese brands are helping people to avoid the health, ethical, and environmental downfalls of dairy without having to “give up” a thing.
Best Vegan Cheese Brands
1. Daiya Foods
Leading plant-based food brand Daiya Foods aims to delight the senses and bring a boost to the day with its better-for-you comfort foods. Daiya first introduced its vegan cheese in 2009 with the goal of creating food that was better for health, the planet, and animal welfare.
The industry leader now has more than 30 realistic vegan dairy products on offer, including Cheddar Style Deluxe Cheeze Sticks, perfect for on-the-go snacking; Chive & Onion Cream Cheeze Style Spread, a super creamy dip with a hearty flavor boost; and Zesty Cheddar Style Deluxe Cheeze Sauce, which begs to be slathered onto nachos.
Its Daiya Cutting Board Collection Shreds — available in Cheddar, Mozzarella, and Pepperjack styles — are cheesier than ever, even melting and stretching like dairy-based cheese. The shreds are ideal for topping vegan pizza, sprucing up a breakfast casserole, or taking your lasagna to the next level. The soy-free shreds are made from coconut oil, tapioca starch, and potato protein. Daiya’s vegan cheese is a good source of calcium and contains no cholesterol or trans fat.
The pioneering company is one of the founding members of The Plant Based Foods Association, which represents the leading plant-based food companies and pushes for policies that keep up with the ever-growing demand for vegan food. As part of its passion for celebrating great-tasting food that is dairy, gluten, and soy-free, Daiya also offers feel-good plant-based foods like pizza, burritos, and dessert bars.
Daiya’s products can be found in more than 25,000 grocery stores in the U.S. including Whole Foods Market, Kroger, Safeway, and Publix, as well as most natural food retailers.
Leading vegan cheese brand Violife was inspired by its own Greek heritage to create its dairy-free Greek White Block. The alternative to cheese is ideal for al fresco dining in the summer months and makes for a perfect addition to any summer dish, including on top of a crisp salad or served alongside seasoned roasted vegetables.
Violife has perfected the art of creating melt-y, stretchy, creamy, tangy, dairy-free alternatives that don’t compromise on taste or cheese-like characteristics. Its range includes a variety of delicious products including bestselling Original Flavour Slices, Original Flavour Grated, Original Flavour Creamy, and the summery Mediterranean Block.
The Violife Greek White Block looks just like the real thing. But this cheese is entirely plant-based and free from all common allergens. This means that anyone can enjoy Violife’s entire range – no matter their lifestyle or dietary requirements.
Violife made history earlier this year when it became the first company to launch a cheese alternative advert on mainstream television. The ad showed everyday “heroes” learning about how easy it is to ditch dairy.
Violife’s Greek White Block is stocked in Tesco, Asda, Ocado, Holland & Barrett and the majority of health stores in the UK. Shoppers can also find other Violife products on the shelves of all major UK supermarkets nationwide. U.S. consumers can find Violife products in Publix and Whole Foods.
3. Field Roast
Though Field Roast is best known for its plant-based meats, especially its sausages, the company also produces a handful of plant-based dairy products under the Chao brand.
Chao’s trio of rich and creamy dairy-free cheese slices peel easily, shred well, and melt “like a dream,” the company says.
The tofu-based cheese slices come in three flavors: Creamy Original, Tomato Cayenne, and Garden Herb.
The cheese pairs perfectly with plant-based meat and works great melted onto your favorite hot sandwich or burger. The Creamy original flavor is versatile. But you can also enjoy it right out of the packet. The Tomato Cayenne is sharp and spicy, and the Garden Herb variety features a blend of oregano and cracked black pepper, resulting in a sweet-yet-savory cheese.
The company didn’t stop at slices for its cheese fix. It also makes dairy-free mac ‘n’ cheese in flavors Creamy and Chili.
Chao’s plant-based cheese contains no gluten or GMO ingredients. It has proved popular among the masses; Chao Creamy Original Slices are the #1 selling plant-based slice variety in the U.S. retail channel. You can buy Chao Creamery products across the U.S. and Canada, including at Whole Foods Market, Safeway, and Walmart.
4. Miyoko’s Creamery
Miyoko’s Creamery, founded by vegan cookbook author and entrepreneur Miyoko Schinner, burst onto the food scene with a new idea: artisan vegan cheese using traditional cheesemaking methods and innovative flavors.
The company offers 19 plant-based dairy products including Mozz, cream cheese, cultured butter, cheddar spreads, and artisan cheese wheels made from cashews and coconuts.
Miyoko’s Creamery’s ten award-winning vegan cheese wheels are culinary works of art. They not only make for a stunning centerpiece but are also phenomenal as an ingredient in recipes. Miyoko’s Creamery’s Double Cream Chive wheel was the winner of “best cheese” from Delicious Living Best Bites 2019. The flavor conquered not just the non-dairy category but the dairy category, too. The round offers a buttery, savory, mild herbal garlic flavor.
Miyoko’s Creamery’s Sun-Dried Tomato flavor is creamy, robust, and pungent with deep Mediterranean flavors. Pair with crackers or melted on pasta. The company also offers vegan cheese wheels in flavors Fresh Loire Valley, Black Ash, and Winter Truffle.
All of the cheeses are organic, non-GMO, and free from cholesterol, gluten, and soy.
Miyoko’s Creamery’s vegan cheeses are available in 12,000 retailers across the U.S. including Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s, Walmart, Sprouts, Target, Kroger, Safeway, and Wegmans.
5. New Roots
Switzerland-based New Roots makes the traditional cheese of the future. Founded by two young vegans in 2015 with a mission to make ethical and sustainable alternatives that taste even better than the real thing.
The company produces dairy-free cheese the traditional way through fermentation an aging — but without the exploitation of animals.
The team uses homemade organic cashew milk — which contains healthy fats, proteins, and vitamins — and the same artisan techniques of fermentation and ripening used in traditional cheesemaking processes. New Roots’ recipe also includes vegan probiotic cultures, Himalayan salt — and nothing else.
New Roots offers a selection of aged and fresh vegan cheeses, including camembert and ricotta. The company’s dairy-free products have proved popular so far; New Roots won the Swiss Vegan Award in 2017, the PETA Award for Best Non Dairy Cheese in 2018, and the Swiss Economic Award in 2019.
New Roots’ plant-based cheese is available throughout Europe. Check out its website to find a retailer near you or to order online.
6. Treeline Cheese
Treeline crafts unique artisanal vegan cheese using the finest Brazilian cashew nuts, fermented and flavored to perfection.
Based in New York’s Hudson Valley, Treeline uses traditional techniques to produce flavors and textures reminiscent of the finest European cheeses — all without the use of added oils, gums, preservatives, or fillers. Its vegan cheeses are also gluten-free, soy-free, and certified non-GMO and Kosher Parve.
Treeline offers seven varieties of plant-based cheese. Its Soft French-Style cheese range includes Herb-Garlic, Scallion, Chipotle-Serrano, and Sea Salt and Pepper. It offers two Aged Artisanal cheese — Classic and Cracker Pepper — and its latest addition is a vegan take on a well-loved favorite: Premium New York Style Cashew Cream Cheese.
Treeline’s efforts go further than cheesemaking. The company also supports charities including Farm Sanctuary, Mercy for Animals, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Best Friends, and Woodstock Farm Sanctuary. The latter is not far from its factory in Kingston, New York.
Treeline’s vegan cheeses are available in more than 3,000 U.S. retailers including Kroger, Whole Foods Market, Natural Grocers, Ralph’s, King Soopers, Fred Meyers, Wegmans, and Fry’s.
Tofutti has been making dairy-free food since the ‘80s. The New Jersey-based brand started out producing plant-based ice cream, but it now offers a variety of other products, including its “Better Than Cream Cheese.” The cheese — which is made with non-GMO tofu, natural soybean oil, and olive oil — comes in four varieties: Original, Herbs & Chives, Garlic & Herb, and Whipped.
The better-for-you cream cheese ideal for spreading onto bagels, dipping into with crackers or sliced veg, or using in vegan cheesecake.
Tofutti also makes vegan American cheese slices, mozzarella slices, and ricotta as well as dairy-free sour cream and Cuties, Tofutti’s vegan version of an ice cream sandwich.
Tofutti’s vegan dairy products are available at Wegman’s, Whole Foods Market, and Publix.
8. Bute Island Foods
Bute Island Foods has been a passionate vegan cheese brand for 30 years. The company created “Sheese,” a soy-based Cheddar-style cheese, in 1988 and began officially producing the product at a completely animal product-free site in 1994.
Bute Island Foods handcrafted each vegan cheese for years, including the individual weighing and shaping of every item.
Straying from its roots, the company’s cheeses are now free from soy, using coconut oil, oat fiber, potato starch, and natural flavors instead.
The company now offers a range of vegan cheese styles including Red Leicester, Smoked German, Edam, and Greek. Bute Island Foods also makes dairy-free cream cheese, wedges, slices, and grated cheese.
Bute Island Foods exports its Sheese worldwide. Papa John’s locations in the UK top vegan pizzas with Bute Island Foods’ dairy-free cheese.
9. Kinda Co.
Kinda Co.’s founder is a self-proclaimed “life-long cheese addict.” Ellie Brown believed ditching dairy would result in the end of her love affair “with all things cheesy and good.” She proved herself wrong.
Brown now makes an array of vegan cheeses in flavors like Greek Style, which is salty and crumbly; Farmhouse, which carries a sharp flavor similar to mature cheddar; and Cranberry, described as creamy, mild, and slightly tangy.
Kinda Co. also offers cheesy vegan spreads including the Faux Lox + Dill Creamy Spread.
Kinda Co.’s products are available from retailers like Greenbay and Planet Organic in the UK and online, however, the company could soon expand. Last year, Kinda Co. participated in a “Dragon’s Den” style contest in which it secured £25,000 in investment funding, £10,000 in funds for branding, and a year’s worth of mentoring.
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