Cheddar AFC agrees new sponsorship deal – with vegan cheese alternative brand

No whey! A football team in Cheddar is causing a stir after agreeing a sponsorship deal with a vegan rival of its popular namesake cheese. Cheddar AFC, which is based in the Somerset town where the much-loved cheese is matured in the famous caves, will now be sponsored by a Cheddar-style dairy alternative, Cheddarton.

The players, known as The Cheesemen, will be encouraged to embark on a plant-based journey from today.

As they sport the cheesy new kit, they will also take part in a training session with former professional player, and ex-Lioness, Karen Carney – who is also a vegan.

The sponsorship comes after a study of 2,000 adults, who have meat and dairy in their diets, found 69 percent wouldn’t consider going vegan – with 57 percent of those saying they would miss their favourite non-vegan foods too much.

A spokesman for sponsors, Violife, which commissioned the research to launch its dairy-free Cheddarton “cheese”, said: “The idea of switching to a vegan diet can seem like a big leap, and clearly many are worried about how they would feel without some of their favourite foods.

“But going plant-based doesn’t have to mean you no longer get to enjoy them.”

The study also found a meat-laden roast dinner is the food non-vegans would miss the most if they were to switch diets – followed by cheese, eggs, dairy milk, and bacon.

And while 30 percent of all those polled reckon they could happily live without meat, almost two-thirds (61 percent) do not feel they could live without cheese.

As a result, 56 percent think it is “hard” to be vegan, with almost a quarter (23 percent) of all plant-based diets ending due to the irresistibility of cheese.

However, despite the reluctance of some to switch to a plant-based diet, 20 percent of those polled, via OnePoll, admitted it is better for the environment.

And nearly one in five (19 percent) said animal welfare was a convincing reason to go vegan.

Despite this, over two-thirds (69 percent) feel cheese is an essential part of their diet – with pizza, cheese on toast, and lasagne making up respondents’ favourite cheesy dishes.

Of those polled, 60 percent believe sportspeople need meat and dairy as part of their diet – so ex-Lioness, Karen Carney, is out to prove them wrong.

She said: “I turned vegan in 2018 and noticed the positive change immediately, both in my health and performance on the football pitch when playing for both club and country.

“The perception of the plant-based diet is that you will miss out on certain foods – but thankfully Violife means I never miss out on my cheesy favourites, like pizza and cheese on toast.”

Kieran Webster, Captain of Cheddar AFC, said: “Living and growing up in Cheddar, cheese is in the players’ blood.

“We know what’s key to making the cheesiest, gooiest dishes around – so if we can go plant-based, switching Cheddar for Cheddarton, anyone can!”

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