Doesn’t get much ‘feta’ for Bute Island Foods Sheese products

Jan and Sue from bute Island Foods received the Free From awards from John Burke at the Dublin awards ceremony.
Jan and Sue from bute Island Foods received the Free From awards from John Burke at the Dublin awards ceremony.

Bute Island Foods renames vegan cheese ‘Gary’ after viral Facebook rant

The island-made products – called Sheese – hit the shelves last Wednesday under the Sainsbury’s ‘Deliciously Freeform’ range, shortly after the company’s mature cheddar style slices were nominated for the best vegan cheese in the VegFest UK awards.

The coconut-based cheese alternatives are produced at the old creamery site, which the company moved into in 2014.

There are seven to choose from, including: cheddar-style, Wensleydale-style with cranberries, Greek-style – a coconut-based alternative to feta, cheddar-style with caramelised onion and soft cheese-style – available in both original and garlic & herb.

The launch also prompted an angry response from one supermarket customer who took umbrage to the vegan alternative being called cheese, in a Facebook rant she said: “If you’re going to be a vegan don’t call your vegan cheese BECAUSE IT’S NOT CHEESE. Call it Gary or something don’t call it cheese”. Sainsbury’s and Bute Island Foods responded to the, now viral, tirade with a swift re-brand.

Bute Island Foods pictures of their “Gary style” Sheese and of their Line Manager, Gary, holding a packet of “Gary”. Sainsbury’s posted on social media: “Thanks to customer feedback, we’re excited to introduce our new range of #Gary.”

Alexa Masterson, Sainsbury’s product developer for Deliciously Freefrom said: “We’re really proud to launch the widest range of supermarket own brand cheese-alternatives to the UK, including a number of products that are first to market.”

And to add to the celebrations, two products from the Bute producer scored a silver and bronze award at the Free-From Food Awards Ireland in June. Jan Crichton and Sue Woodward from Bute Island Foods received the Free-From awards from John Burke in Dublin. The cheese-alternatives, which were first made on the island in 1988, have been developed to be enjoyed in the same way as regular cheese – from melted on toast and stirred into pasta, to sprinkled over salads or whipped for use in baking. They can be purchased from the Creamery or the Musicker cafe stocks some Sheese varieties at 11 High Street, Rothesay.