Candy may not be the first thing people think of when they consider what it’s like to give up meat and animal products and live as a vegan — but that doesn’t mean it’s not relevant.

With ingredients like milk and gelatin, confections can be filled with animal products. 

Now, Mars is introducing a vegan alternative to one of its most popular chocolate bars. Specifically, the candy maker has launched three new vegan candy bars under its Galaxy brand in the UK. 

CNN Business reports "the bars will come in three flavors — Caramelized Hazelnut, Caramel and Sea Salt, and Smooth Orange. 

Kerry Cavanaugh, marketing director at Galaxy manufacturer Mars Wrigley UK, said the company is “so excited” to launch a bar that uses a recipe that “doesn’t compromise on the brand’s signature smooth and creamy characteristics.”

He also told CNN Business that capturing the Galaxy bar's creamy texture was the "biggest challenge" the company faced and praised his team for developing the recipe within six months.

At £3 ($3.85) for a 100-gram bar, they cost three times more than regular Galaxy bars. 

My guess is consumers will be willing to pay a premium for the bars — and other candy makers should take note of the expanding market for such products.

In fact, Mintel reports “as many as one in six (16 percent) food products launched in the UK in 2018 had a vegan/no animal ingredients claim, doubling from just 8 percent in 2015.”

No, these aren’t the first vegan chocolate bars on the market — many companies already offer dark chocolate varieties that are naturally vegan. 

But seeing a company like Mars enter the sector is a huge step forward for the trend. And I predict the bars will reach a wider audience than just strict vegans. Many consumers are working to reduce the amount of animal products they consume for a variety of reasons, and these new bars are perfect for them as well. 

In short, confectionery companies can no longer afford to ignore the vegan trend — and as the trend catches on, it’s very likely that it will evolve from a “trend” to a “permanent shift” in the marketplace.