Is Violife Cheese Healthy? 7 Things You Should Know

As a vegan of 14 years, I’m always happy to see more “vegan cheese” options arrive in stores. But just because something is vegan doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Today, let’s look in-depth at one vegan cheese brand—Violife—and see how it stacks up nutritionally.

Violife vegan cheese has similar amounts of calories, saturated fat, and sodium as real cheese—but without the calcium of real cheese. It is mostly made of processed oil and starch. It is not the healthiest choice. However, Violife cheese is dairy-free, soy-free, nut-free, gluten-free, and fortified with vitamin B12.

Below, I’ll look closely at the ingredients in Violife to answer whether it counts as a “processed food.” Then I’ll compare Violife side-by-side with Kraft and other leading brands of real dairy cheese. I’ve got some pretty interesting findings to share!

Is Violife Cheese Good for You?

Here are the seven specific questions I’ll be answering about Violife nutrition. Click any of them to skip ahead to that section—or just keep scrolling to read them all:

  1. What Is Violife Cheese Made Of?
  2. Is Violife Cheese Fattening?
  3. Is Violife Cheese High in Saturated Fat?
  4. Is Violife Cheese High in Sodium?
  5. Does Violife Cheese Have Calcium?
  6. Does Violife Cheese Contain Allergens?
  7. Is Violife Cheese Vegan?

1. What Is Violife Cheese Made Of?

Let’s start by looking at the exact ingredients in Violife cheese. I’ve chosen four of their most popular products, just to get a broad sampling.

Here are the ingredients, and I’ll share my analysis below:

Violife Cheese ProductIngredients
Just Like Mozzarella ShredsFiltered Water, Coconut Oil, Food Starch-Modified (Potato & Corn), Corn Starch, Salt (Sea Salt), Mozzarella Flavor (Vegan Sources), Olive Extract, Beta Carotene (Color), Vitamin B12, Powdered Cellulose Added to Prevent Caking.
Just Like Cheddar SlicesFiltered Water, Coconut Oil, Food Starch-Modified (Potato & Corn), Potato Starch, Salt (Sea Salt), Cheddar Flavor (vegan sources), Olive Extract, Paprika extract & Beta Carotene (Color), Vitamin B12.
Just Like Cream Cheese (Original)Filtered Water, Coconut Oil, Potato Starch, Salt (Sea Salt), Glucono-Delta-Lactone, Flavor (vegan sources), Olive Extract, Vitamin B12.
Just Like Parmesan WedgeFiltered Water, Potato & Rice Starch, Food Starch-Modified (potato), Coconut Oil, Salt (Sea Salt), Rice Protein, Parmezan Flavor (vegan sources), Olive Extract, Beta Carotene (Color), Vitamin B12.
Violife Cheese Ingredients.

Here’s what I notice about these ingredients:

  • Violife cheese is made from coconut oil. Some people consider coconut oil to be very healthy… But there are also studies showing that coconut oil raises LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, much like other forms of saturated fat. Also, like all other oils, coconut oil is very high in calories—not the best for weight management. Personally, I try not to eat much.
  • Violife cheese is made of processed starch. Some of the main ingredients in Violife products include: Modified food starch, potato starch, and corn starch. Although not used in huge quantities, these are processed, high-glycemic carbohydrates. Not the healthiest.
  • Violife cheese has added salt. Too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure and increased heart disease risk. The amount of sodium in Violife is not horrible… but the Parmesan Wedge is extra salty, at 390mg of sodium per 1-ounce serving. That’s 17% of the daily value of sodium, just from 80 calories of a vegan cheese topping.
  • Violife cheese is fortified with vitamin B12. Considering that all vegans need to supplement with B12, this is a nice bonus. However, the amount of B12 in Violife is pretty low. And you should be taking a B12 supplement anyway if you’re vegan. (I recommend this one.) So, the fortified B12 in Violife is not a huge perk.

Overall, Violife “cheese” is processed food. It’s mostly processed oil and starch—not the healthiest choice. That said, real dairy cheese isn’t very healthy either! So, let’s compare Violife to real cheese and see what looks healthier.

2. Is Violife Cheese Fattening?

Most Violife products have a similar amount of calories as real cheese. This means they are not much more (or less) fattening than real cheese. However, some Violife products—especially the Parmesan Wedge—are lower in calories than real cheese.

When it comes to whether a food is “fattening,” the best single thing we can look at is probably calorie density. This is a measure of how many calories are contained in a given mass or volume of the food. It can be expressed in statistics like “calories per 100 grams.”

But when we’re comparing similar products, we can typically just compare calories (as long as the serving sizes are the same). So let’s look at the calories in Violife cheese vs popular brands of real dairy cheese.

First, let’s compare the mozzarella shreds (used for pizza):

Mozzarella ProductCalories Per Serving
Violife Just Like Mozzarella Shreds80 (per 1/4 cup)
Kraft Mozzarella Shreds80 (per 1/4 cup)
Violife vs Real Cheese: Mozzarella Calories.

As you can see, they have the same amount of calories, so a very similar calorie density.

Now, let’s look at the cheddar slices:

Cheddar Slices ProductCalories Per Serving
Violife Just Like Cheddar Slices60 (per one 20g slice)
Kraft Singles Sharp Cheddar60 (per one 21g slice)
Violife vs Real Cheese: Cheddar Slices Calories.

Again, the Violife cheese has the same calories as real cheese.

But we’ll see something different with the cream cheese:

Cream Cheese ProductCalories Per Serving
Violife Just Like Cream Cheese (Original)70 (per 2 Tbsp)
Philadelphia Original Cream Cheese80 (per 2 Tbsp)
Violife vs Real Cheese: Cream Cheese Calories.

With the cream cheese, Violife is a bit lower in calories than real cheese. But not by much.

Lastly, let’s check the parmesan wedges:

Parmesan ProductCalories Per Serving
Violife Just Like Parmesan Wedge80 (per 1 oz)
BelGioioso Parmesan Wedge110 (per 1 oz)
Violife vs Real Cheese: Parmesan Calories.

And here again, Violife is a lower-calorie option. This time, the difference is a bit more significant, too.

Overall, Violife has around the same amount of calories as real cheese. However, some of their products—especially the parmesan wedge—are lower in calories.

3. Is Violife Cheese High in Saturated Fat?

Most Violife cheese products have more saturated fat than real dairy cheese. The saturated fat in Violife cheese comes from coconut oil, rather than milk fat.

One of the reasons why cheese is commonly said to be unhealthy is its saturated fat content. In fact, cheese is reported to be the biggest source of saturated fat in the American diet.

You might assume that vegan cheese would be lower in saturated fat. After all, most plant-based fats are unsaturated.

And indeed, when you look at other brands of vegan cheese—like Daiya and Follow Your Heart—they are generally lower in saturated fat than real cheese.

But you actually can’t say the same about Violife. This is because Violife is made from coconut oil, which one of the few sources of plant-based saturated fat.

Keep in mind: Saturated fat from some sources may be healthier than others. I do not mean to necessarily equate coconut oil with dairy fat by making these comparisons.

Anyway, let’s compare the saturated fat content of Violife to real cheese—starting with the mozzarella:

Mozzarella ProductSaturated Fat Per Serving
Violife Just Like Mozzarella Shreds6g (per 1/4 cup)
Kraft Mozzarella Shreds3.5g (per 1/4 cup)
Violife vs Real Cheese: Mozzarella Saturated Fat Content.

I was surprised to see that Violife has about 70% more saturated fat than Kraft when it comes to mozzarella shreds.

Now, let’s compare the cheddar slices:

Cheddar Slices ProductSaturated Fat Per Serving
Violife Just Like Cheddar Slices4g (per one 20g slice)
Kraft Singles Sharp Cheddar2.5g (per one 21g slice)
Violife vs Real Cheese: Cheddar Slices Saturated Fat Content.

Once again, Violife has significantly more saturated fat than Kraft—this time around 60% more.

Next, we look at the cream cheese:

Cream Cheese ProductSaturated Fat Per Serving
Violife Just Like Cream Cheese (Original)6g (per 2 Tbsp)
Philadelphia Original Cream Cheese4.5g (per 2 Tbsp)
Violife vs Real Cheese: Cream Cheese Saturated Fat Content.

Here, Violife has about 33% more saturated fat than the leading brand of real dairy cream cheese.

Lastly, let’s look at the parmesan:

Parmesan ProductSaturated Fat Per Serving
Violife Just Like Parmesan Wedge4.5g (per 1 oz)
BelGioioso Parmesan Wedge4.0g (per 1 oz)
Violife vs Real Cheese: Parmesan Saturated Fat Content.

And once again, Violife has more saturated fat, although not by much this time.

Overall, there’s a clear pattern here: Violife generally has more saturated fat than dairy cheese.

4. Is Violife Cheese High in Sodium?

Most Violife cheese products have similar sodium content as real dairy cheese. Violife’s Just Like Parmesan Wedge is one of their products highest in sodium, with 390mg of sodium per 1-ounce serving.

Too much sodium can your raise blood pressure and increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and many other complications. So it’s worth checking the sodium content of the foods you eat, especially processed foods.

Some cheese products are quite high in sodium. So how does vegan cheese like Violife compare? Let’s start by looking at the mozzarella:

Mozzarella ProductSodium Per Serving
Violife Just Like Mozzarella Shreds190mg (per 1/4 cup)
Kraft Mozzarella Shreds150mg (per 1/4 cup)
Violife vs Real Cheese: Mozzarella Sodium Content.

As you can see, Violife’s mozzarella has more sodium than Kraft—but it’s only about 27% more.

Now, let’s check the cheddar slices:

Cheddar Slices ProductSodium Per Serving
Violife Just Like Cheddar Slices180mg (per one 20g slice)
Kraft Singles Sharp Cheddar240mg (per one 21g slice)
Violife vs Real Cheese: Cheddar Slices Sodium Content.

With the cheddar slices, Violife has 33% less sodium compared to Kraft.

How about when it comes to cream cheese?

Cream Cheese ProductSodium Per Serving
Violife Just Like Cream Cheese (Original)140mg (per 2 Tbsp)
Philadelphia Original Cream Cheese125mg (per 2 Tbsp)
Violife vs Real Cheese: Cream Cheese Sodium Content.

Violife’s cream cheese has just a bit more sodium compared to Philadelphia cream cheese.

Lastly, let’s look at the parmesan:

Parmesan ProductSodium Per Serving
Violife Just Like Parmesan Wedge390mg (per 1 oz)
BelGioioso Parmesan Wedge260mg (per 1 oz)
Violife vs Real Cheese: Parmesan Sodium Content.

Violife’s parmesan option has 50% more sodium compared to the real parmesan product.

Overall, there’s no clear pattern of whether Violife cheese has more or less sodium than real cheese. It varies by product. Neither Violife nor their dairy competitors are super low in sodium across the board.

5. Does Violife Cheese Have Calcium?

Violife cheese does not have calcium. This is probably the one area of nutrition where Violife clearly loses to real cheese. Violife has fortified vitamin B12 in their products—but not fortified calcium.

And it’s actually a significant amount of calcium you could be getting from real cheese, as we’ll see below. Here’s the comparison for mozzarella:

Mozzarella ProductCalcium Per Serving
Violife Just Like Mozzarella Shreds 0mg (per 1/4 cup)
Kraft Mozzarella Shreds200mg (per 1/4 cup)
Violife vs Real Cheese: Mozzarella Calcium Content.

Next, here’s the comparison for cheddar slices:

Cheddar Slices ProductCalcium Per Serving
Violife Just Like Cheddar Slices0% DV (per one 20g slice)
Kraft Singles Sharp Cheddar20% DV (per one 21g slice)
Violife vs Real Cheese: Cheddar Slices Calcium Content.

Next, the cream cheese comparison—a bit less dramatic:

Cream Cheese ProductCalcium Per Serving
Violife Just Like Cream Cheese (Original)0% DV (per 2 Tbsp)
Philadelphia Original Cream Cheese4% DV (per 2 Tbsp)
Violife vs Real Cheese: Cream Cheese Calcium Content.

And finally, the parmesan—the most stark comparison yet:

Parmesan ProductCalcium Per Serving
Violife Just Like Parmesan Wedge0% DV (per 1 oz)
BelGioioso Parmesan Wedge35% DV (per 1 oz)
Violife vs Real Cheese: Parmesan Calcium Content.

The pattern is clear: Violife cheese doesn’t have calcium. Meanwhile, many kinds of real cheese are significant sources of calcium.

6. Does Violife Cheese Contain Allergens?

Violife cheese is free from dairy, soy, gluten, lactose, and nuts. The main ingredients are coconut oil and food starch (mostly from potato and corn). Violife is not a nut-based or soy-based cheese.

7. Is Violife Cheese Vegan?

Violife cheese is confirmed vegan. In fact, their website and packaging include the tagline “100% Vegan.” Their products are dairy free, egg free, and contain no animal ingredients.

If you’re new to the world of vegan cheese, it’s worth noting here that not all “veggie cheese” is vegan. Occasionally, you’ll find a “Lactose Free” cheese that still contains dairy proteins or ingredients like rennet (enzymes that are animal-derived).

But rest assured, Violife is not one of these sneaky non-vegan cheeses. Violife is completely vegan.

Two More Recommendations for Your Vegan Journey

1. This is the best vegan multivitamin I’ve found in 14 years of being vegan. It has vitamin B12, vitamin D, omega-3—and nothing else. Translation: It only has the nutrients vegans are actually low in. Read my full review of Future Kind’s multivitamin here (with 10% discount).

2. This is the best vegan starter kit I know of. It’s a bundle of 9 beautiful e-books that help you transition to a healthy plant-based diet—the right way. The advice is spot-on, and it has print-outs and checklists that make it easy to implement. Read my full review of Nutriciously here.