Much to everyone's dismay, I don't lead new introductions with my dietary choices. To each their own, but declaring your dietary restrictions outside of a restaurant setting doesn't bring a lot of value to a conversation. Unless someone is shoving a hotdog into my face, I don't see reason in declaring what I eat or not. Plus there's all that stigma and people's need to justify their lifestyle choices. Who cares? Unless you're starving, conversations about food are so mundane.
But when the topic does come up, there is a response and it normally goes like this.
"I could never give up cheese."
I cannot blame them. Vegan cheese was not the reason I went vegan. In fact, I went vegetarian for 6 months because the idea of giving up cheese just seemed so out of reach. Cheese is good. The way it melts, spreads, compliments a meal. I come from the land of dairy. Cheese was a necessity for civilization's progress and survival. I will never deny that.
So when people find out, I become a reluctant ambassador for a product that I really don't like. Vegan cheese is gross. People look at me with confusion and just wonder why I choose to put myself through a miserable existence of coconut based lumps. You simply cut it out. You can get used to anything. I got used to drinking black coffee, when I eliminated dairy from my diet. It is frightening for people to imagine trading in a life of luscious melt-in-your-mouth Gruyere to yellow goo that melts like a spoonful of coconut oil. So I agree, vegan cheese is not the driving factor for switching your diet. There should be other reasons for your switch that make it acceptable to give up Appenzeller, Brie or aged Irish cheddar. Travelling in France while vegan hit different. I get it. The question remains, why does vegan cheese exist when it shouldn't? It's an experiment. It's a push towards technological advancement. It's an alternative to cheese that your mom will buy and put in the fridge for your long awaited visit. It's a way for lactose intolerant and vegans to unite and contribute to a technological advancement. The dairy milk industry is operating on borrowed time and once government subsidies run out it will be too expensive to operate. Vegan cheese will become the fake crabsticks of our lifetime.
One day biotech will be advanced enough that we won't be able to tell the difference. One day plant based cheese will be indistinguishable and it will cost less. The price of dairy will become more expensive and then the humble grocery shopper will take the plunge. To get there takes time, baby steps. The same steps that made the current shopper switch to no-name brands due to the inflation pressure in 2023. It's a gradual change and by the time it is here, it will not be as horrific as you imagine it now. You can get used to anything. Our current life of cheese luxury wasn't an overnight switch. It was a gradual change driven by politics and business. The gradual shift can go in the other direction as well. Life is fluid and full of possibilities. We can be open and excited for what is around the corner.
With the above said, I do enjoy vegan cheese that is based on ingredients closest to those found in nature. My favorite ones are cashews based. Spread'Em and Nuts for Cheese are my go to when I'm feeling like having a treat.