(Updated Jan. 4, 2021) Following the successful UK launch of Mars milk chocolate Galaxy bars in November, the confectionary brand is giving two more of its standout chocolate products a vegan makeover.
This week, Mars introduced vegan versions of two of its most iconic chocolate bars, Bounty and Topic. The new bars look a little different from the classic version. Instead of a soft center enrobed in chocolate, the vegan Bounty and Topic chocolate bars resemble the dairy-free Galaxy Bars. Along with Mars Oat, a dairy-free version of the Mars milkshake, this is the company’s third big vegan product launch in under two years.
The new Bounty Vegan features diced coconut blended with almond paste, while the Topic Vegan bar is a mix of hazelnut paste, rich cocoa, and whole hazelnuts.
The company is the first-ever large mainstream confectionary brand to launch a vegan milk chocolate bar with its Galaxy bars, which are available in three flavors: Smooth Orange, Caramel & Sea Salt, and Caramelized Hazelnut.
According to the Guardian’s food writer Tamal Ray, the bars have the same creaminess as traditional milk chocolate. He tried the Smooth Orange flavor and the Caramelized Hazelnut.
“I have no idea what sort of alchemical magic turns hazelnuts into cream,” said Ray. “But, whatever the process is, both bars of chocolate certainly look and feel the part.” Mars also taste-tested the bars before release; consumers rated them highly, with rival products — mainly dark chocolate — scoring lower for bitterness.
Catering to the ‘Vegan Buzz’
The new bars aren’t just animal-friendly, they’re good for the environment too. Each product is wrapped in compostable packaging made with wood fiber. They are packaged inside a cardboard sleeve, which is widely recyclable.
According to Kerry Cavanaugh — the unit director of chocolate at Mars –, the brand is launching vegan chocolate in response to consumer demand. “Wherever you look you can’t avoid the vegan buzz in the UK,” they said in a statement, before highlighting that the vegan chocolate market is growing, but still small.
“Vegan treats are currently only worth £10 million in a £4 billion chocolate market,” they continued. “We think that by introducing Galaxy, one of the UK’s best-known brands, there is a huge opportunity for the category to grow.”
The bars were certified as vegan by the UK’s Vegan Society. “We’re proud to register Galaxy’s first-ever non-dairy milk chocolate bars with our vegan trademark,” said Abigail Stevens — trademark marketing manager at the Vegan Society — in a statement.
She continued, “the brand has demonstrated that dairy is not necessary to make great tasting chocolate and that people can still enjoy their favorites without the use of animals.”
The all Mars vegan chocolate bars cost £3 and are available at UK supermarkets, Amazon, and online supermarket Ocado.