MY mission to identify a cheese close enough to the real deal for my vegan friends has stepped up a gear after the Adver's newest recruit revealed himself to also be leading a vegan life.

To date, my experiences with vegan cheese have been pretty poor. I've had a lot of recommendations, notably from the Swindon and Wiltshire Vegans Facebook group, and they pointed me in the direction of Sainsbury’s “Deliciously Free From Wheat, Gluten, Milk and Egg” line-up. Not the catchiest of titles, I know, but they make up for that with the range they offer. They have whipped up their own takes on cheddar, feta, blue cheese, Wensleydale with cranberries, and cheddar with chives.

All of the varieties are coconut-based, with a 30g serving setting you back on average of 90kcal, as opposed to Cathedral City which packs in 125kcal per serving. But for a carnivore, would the sacrifice of real cheese be worth the calories you save?

With my experience of Violife's take on cheese firmly in mind, I avoided the plain cheddar and - hoping for a bit more flavour - picked up their cheddar style with caramelised onion, the blue, and the Greek-style.

I’m keen to finish on a more positive note this time around, so let’s start with the blue. Sadly I don’t think the Sainsbury’s serving is much better than Violife’s Blu (without the E, remember) which was only noteworthy for being particularly grim. To Sainsbury’s credit, theirs isn’t a sad, miserable grey colour last seen in the grouting of East German bathrooms in 1989, but a sort of off-white. I know that blue cheese itself is an acquired taste – but it is a taste I have acquired, and unfortunately this doesn't even come close, and just leaves a very nasty taste in the mouth.

However, the Greek-style is a vast improvement. It’s not as moist as feta, but it sort of has the same sort of consistency, and as far as taste goes it isn’t actually that bad at all. In a salad I would hazard a guess that you wouldn’t really notice the difference.

Their caramelised onion one had some real flavour to it. But it wasn't a natural flavour. That said, I am quite partial to a packet of sour cream and onion crisps, so I didn't find the taste of it offensive at all. The consistency isn't quite cheddar, but everyone I offered it to seemed to enjoy that one the most.

Despite feeling happier that there are better alternatives out there, I would still feel that a vegan dinner guest was missing out if I were to bring these out on a board.

This year's Veganuary was reportedly the most successful ever, so there is a significant part of our society that is looking for dairy alternatives. But for me, what's on offer at the moment isn't a credible alternative. Our new recruit even laughed when I told him I was looking for a decent vegan cheese.

So my quest continues...