So Delicious make several kinds of vegan cheese, so I picked up two kinds at the Grocery Outlet as part of my continuing mission to seek out the best vegan cheeses. I’ve already tried and reviewed some frozen products from So Delicious – their healthier “330” frozen desserts (vegan mousse) and a couple of So Delicious ice creams – and liked them (especially the mousse). The two products that I’m going to cover here are sliced vegan cheeses from So Delicious – American Style and Cheddar Style.
So far I’ve featured two kinds of vegan cheese that I thought were pretty worthy of your consideration – Violife’s vegan feta, made from coconut oil & potato starch, and Spero’s vegan cream cheese, made from sunflower seeds. While these cheeses were pretty solid replacements for feta and cream cheese, it has been harder to find a decent substitute for regular cheddar cheese.
Review of So Delicious vegan sliced cheeses
As mentioned above, the vegan versions of regular cheese (cheddar, Swiss, provolone, etc.) aren’t perfect substitutes yet, but they are getting better. I’ve tried several brands over the last year (Daiya, Miyoko’s, Chao, Violife) and I think that the So Delicious cheese were among my favorites. (This post isn’t sponsored in any way, by the way.) I’ll start with my favorite…
So Delicious American Style Slices.
Growing up, we referred to sliced cheese (like Kraft’s Easy Singles) as “plastic cheese” because it seemed like there wasn’t much distinction between the cheese and the plastic wrap. Easy Singles, which sounds more like an eighties rom-com or a college band than a kind of cheese, and sliced American cheese in general, aren’t exactly giants in the culinary world. So the bar is kinda low and perhaps that’s why I was fairly impressed with these So Delicious American Style slices!
(BTW, I’m just learning that Kraft’s product is just called Singles in the US – in Ireland they were Easy Singles!)
What impressed me the most was that the So Delicious cheese actually tasted OK on fresh crusty bread. Normally, vegan cheese slices are sufficient for situations when they are melted along with other ingredients (on burgers, in panini, etc.) but aren’t too appealing on their own. This product was actually pretty decent on freshly baked bread.
So Delicious Cheddar Style Slices.
To be candid, there’s not a massive difference between the American and Cheddar varieties, but I did slightly prefer the American style (the shame!). I should try them blind and see if I can tell the difference… OK, I compared them on crackers and there’s really not much difference. I think that you can assume that you’ll also find them to be similar, so buy either one if you want to give it a try.
So Delicious American Style cheese slices – ingredients
Filtered Water, Coconut Oil, Modified Starches (Corn, Tapioca, Potato), Potato Starch, Salt, 2% or Less of: Potato Protein Isolate, Yeast Extract, Cultured Sugar (To Retain Freshness), Lactic Acid, Xanthan Gum, Konjac Gum, Natural Flavor, Paprika Extract and Beta Carotene (For Color).
So Delicious Cheddar Style cheese slices – ingredients
Filtered Water, Coconut Oil, Modified Starches (Corn, Tapioca, Potato), Potato Starch, Salt, 2% or Less of: Potato Protein Isolate, Yeast Extract, Cultured Sugar (To Retain Freshness), Lactic Acid, Xanthan Gum, Konjac Gum, Natural Flavor, Annatto Extract (For Color).
There’s not much to distinguish these cheeses. The nutritional breakdown is identical and even the ingredient lists are identical except for the colors! I imagine that there’s a slight difference in processing that results in minor textural differences and melting properties…?
The So Delicious ice creams that I reviewed previously were made with organic coconut milk, so it’s a pity that So Delicious isn’t using organic coconut oil here. There’s not a lot going on nutritionally – no protein, calcium, or fiber. Compared to conventional cheese these have the advantages of no cholesterol, no sugar (lactose), and perhaps a better fat profile. Most importantly, vegan cheese contains none of the growth hormones and other components that make dairy a bad fit for an adult human diet.
Still – I would prefer if there was something else in there (protein, fiber, minerals, vitamins) to make them more attractive, nutritionally. The Spero cream cheese is nutritionally the best of the vegan cheese products that I’ve tried so far and even the Violife feta contained vitamin B12.
So many vegan cheese products are made from coconut oil and starch and not much else. That would be fine if it produced an amazing product that persuaded people to switch from conventional dairy. I think that vegan cheese needs to improve some more but, in the meantime, these So Delicious vegan slices are one of the best-tasting alternatives to dairy.
Ethical rating for So Delicious vegan cheese slices
Here’s a summary of how I feel about the social and environmental impact of So Delicious vegan cheese slices, which I’m scoring 3.5 Green Stars:
- These cheeses are vegan, as are all So Delicious products.
- The ingredients are not organic, unlike the So Delicious ice cream and 330 light frozen desserts. The ingredients are certified as non-GMO.
- So Delicious uses plant-based plastic (from sugarcane) for some products and post-consumer recycled or FSC-certified paperboard for others. The sliced cheese containers are not recyclable.
- Not individually wrapped, significantly reducing the plastic footprint compared to most conventional cheese slices that are each wrapped in a layer of film.
- So Delicious is part of Whitewave Foods, which is now owned by the French multinational food company, Danone Group. Danone Group, like many multinationals, is a mix of good and bad. The negatives are similar to those of Nestlé – bottled water and pushing infant formula in developing countries. But, overall, Danone looks better than Nestlé to me.
- Danone North America is a certified B-corporation, with a modest score of 84.9.
- Neither So Delicious nor Danone North America report very much on ingredient sourcing; Danone is making progress on some sustainability metrics (e.g., carbon and water footprints) but its reports are a little thin on detail.
Summary scores (out of 5) for So Delicious cheese slices:
- 4 gold stars for quality and value
- 3.5 green stars for social and environmental impact
If you have a different opinion, please share your rating! Until next time, stay safe : )