With food prices, and especially dairy prices, so high it should come as no surprise that substitutes are now being considered. In yesterday's edition of The Japan Food Journal (Japanese language) there is an article about Marine Foods coming out with a cheese substitute made from plant oils. There are plenty of other products being offered as substitutes, but this one serves as a good example.
This cheese substitute is called sutirino (スティリーノ) and is aimed at the industrial use market or the private brand market. It costs 30 percent less than cheese and can be used at a mix with cheese or as a complete replacement.
I would have to think that the physical properties would differ somewhat from processed cheese and I also wonder about the trans-fats since this is processed plant oil. But the biggest question is taste - if it does not taste good, it will not do well. The taste of good cheese is very complex and almost impossible to copy. The complete set of compounds that contribute to the taste of cheese differ by the variety cheese and are still not completely understood.
Nevertheless, with prices what they are, there will certainly be many more alternatives proposed for a large variety of foods.