The announcement comes hot on the heels of the success of the Greggs vegan sausage roll and other major food retailers like KFC, who are realising the potential of veganising their products.
And while there are already plenty of delicious vegan milk chocolate bars on the market, Mars is the first major confectionery brand to offer a plant-based, milk chocolate alternative to consumers.
Mars says it took them over six months to re-invent the bar, which involved replacing dairy with hazelnut paste and rice syrup. They will be available in three flavours: caramel and sea salt, smooth orange and caramelized hazelnut.
Linda Lopez, head of the company’s sensory team said: “The taste of galaxy has not changed in the nearly 60 years since it was launched. We wanted to retain the classic smooth and creamy taste and texture without compromise.”
Unfortunately the new bars do compromise slightly on affordability, costing £3 per 100g bar – around double the price of the original.
So will they live up to the much loved original? Guardian food writer Tamal Ray had the chance to try the new caramelized hazelnut and smooth orange bars. “I have no idea what sort of alchemical magic turns hazelnuts into cream but, whatever the process is, both bars of chocolate certainly look and feel the part: they’re smooth on the tongue and melt away to a pleasant creaminess,” he said.
“The caramelised hazelnut has crunchy little nuggets of caramelised sugar and hazelnut scattered through whilst the smooth orange has just enough citrus flavour to be pleasantly familiar without overpowering. Both are fair efforts that I doubt you would realise were vegan if you didn’t know already.”
As well as being cruelty-free, the new products will be more eco-friendly. Each bar is wrapped in wood fibre; a compostable packaging material penned to be a solution to the world’s plastic problem, and will be widely-recyclable.
They will be available to buy online and in store at Tesco, Ocado, and Amazon from Monday 18 November.