Brands are jumping in on Sainsbury’s viral #Gary cheese win

Sainsbury may well have entered the social media hall of fame last week with #Gary.

Following the release of the U.K. supermarket’s range of dairy-free cheeses on September 28, a “real cheese fan” shared a lengthy Facebook post (now deleted) about why the products shouldn’t be called cheese as they contained no dairy, but something like “Gary” instead.

Sainsbury’s responded with a tongue-in-cheek announcement it was changing the product’s name to Gary. Its tweet and Facebook post vent viral, with over 1,500 and 4,100 shares respectively.

On the day of the tweet, the hashtag #Gary was trending over London — and the mentions only snowballed from there.  According to data from Brandwatch, the hashtag has been used 4,000 times this week, while Sainsbury’s saw a spike in overwhelmingly positive mentions: 78.6 percent of Sainsbury’s sentiment-categorized mentions are positive, while Gary’s sentiment is 96.7 percent positive. 

Now other brands have been jumping in on the Gary magic. Today snack brand Ten Acre released a photoshopped version of its vegan cheese and onion crisps to read “When Gary Met The Onion.”

Other brands, including Bute Island Foods and Italian restaurant chain Zizzi have been tweeting their vegan offerings with the #Gary hashtag.

(Gary even now has its own Facebook fan page and is the subject of “Gary Potter” fan fiction.)

Looking up “Gary” in the Sainsbury’s search bar shows seven items in its FreeFrom range, including grated and sliced cheeses. Meanwhile, the same search on independent food delivery site Ocado brings up 10 products in the non-dairy category. This includes products from Cheezly and Violife and a dairy-free cheese flavoured sauce from the company Free & Easy.

Waitrose, Tesco and Asda do not currently show results for “Gary.” Maybe they should call their vegan cheese Kevin instead.

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