Vegan Trade Journal sister publication plays major role in ‘Vegan Gary’ story

The social media story sparked by an online rant about vegan cheese continues – and Vegan Life magazine was at the heart of the story.

The rank was a result of supermarket giant Sainsburys releasing a range of vegan cheeses, including wensleydale, cheddar, Greek, and soft cheese. 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. These cheese-alternatives, alongside our broader Deliciously Freefrom offering, allow our shoppers to prepare meals and enjoy products that they may have previously missed out on.”

But the news angered one Facebook user – according to their now infamous rant: “Call it [vegan cheese] Gary or something, don’t call it cheese because it’s not cheese!” The writer also went on to say vegans would be excluded from their wine and cheese evenings.

Vegan Life magazine is one of the consumer titles produced by VTJ’s publisher Prime Impact. The magazine picked up the rant and shared it with its large following on Facebook and Twitter. Following Vegan Life sharing the rant, the story was picked up across a range of media including the Metro online newspaper and the Telegraph.

A spokeswoman for Sainsbury’s told Vegan Trade Journal: “With regards to the evolution of #Gary, we are really delighted with the brilliant reaction to the launch of our new Freefrom Coconut-based alternatives to cheese and that they’ve even inspired their own social movement. It was great fun to be part of the ‘Gary’ movement but regrettably it is not really practical or appropriate for us to properly rename any of the products in the range to ‘Gary’. The enthusiasm for the new range is a real testament to the innovation behind it, but it’s really important that the front of pack labelling is clear for those customers who do suffer from allergies or intolerances. But there’s no reason why ‘Gary’ should not remain an affectionate and jokey way to refer to these fantastic alternatives to cheese.”

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