North America’s wait for Ruby chocolate is over.
Following a six-month soft launch with select artisans and chocolatiers, Barry Callebaut Group is making the pink chocolate — billed as the fourth type after dark, milk and white — available to creators in the U.S. and Canada.
Since its launch in September 2017, Ruby chocolate has captured the interest of brands, chocolatiers and consumers in Europe and Asia, thanks to its natural berry flavor, smooth texture and rosy hue. Nestlé Japan led the charge, launching the first Ruby product — Kit Kat Chocolatory Sublime Ruby — in early 2018.
For the soft launch, Chocolove, Vosges Haut-Chocolat and Trader Joe’s were among Barry Callebaut’s partners in the U.S. to receive an early opportunity to develop products with Ruby cacao.
Chocolove offers a Ruby cacao bar, a Passion Fruit Ruby cacao bar and a Grapefruit Ruby cacao bar. Vosges-Haut Chocolat, meanwhile, has developed Ruby truffles featuring cherry, mango and floral flavors. Trader Joe’s offered in February a 5-oz. bag of Ruby cacao wafers for home chefs and bakers looking to sweeten up Valentine’s Day.
“The sales of those consumer products have been very strong,” said Peter Boone, president and ceo of Barry Callebaut Americas. “As a result, to help ensure that our business partners have access to the product, we feel that now is the time to take the next step in our global roll-out campaign and introduce Ruby to the entire North American market.”
Barry Callebaut will introduce Ruby in the form of Callebaut RB1 Couverture in the U.S. while the chocolate maker works with the Food and Drug Administration to obtain a standard of identity that reflects Ruby’s sensory profile. The process could take several years.
However, Barry Callebaut has not trademarked Ruby chocolate, Bas Smit, global v.p. president, of marketing, noted.
“Given the fact that ruby satisfies an unmet consumer need, we decided not to trademark Ruby chocolate across the world, as no one should ‘own’ ruby,” he said. “We aim for category growth and to have Ruby accepted as the fourth type of chocolate.”
The company will celebrate the couverture’s launch at a private, chef-led event in Miami, Florida, on May 20. Barry Callebaut will also highlight Ruby during the National Confectioners Association’s (NCA) Sweets and Snacks Expo in Chicago on May 21. Both events will feature chef demonstrations, product application sessions and sampling.
Preceding the formal launch of ruby in North America, Barry Callebaut won the NCA’s Most Innovative Supplier award in recognition of Ruby in 2018. Hollywood also had a taste of Ruby at the Official Afterparty of the 2018 Academy Awards, and U.S. late-night television show Saturday Night Live featured Ruby in a skit.
This innovation, which has been in the making for more than 10 years, was crafted by leveraging the knowledge of Barry Callebaut’s global network of 28 R&D centers, Germany’s Jacobs University Bremen and more than 175 years of expertise in sourcing and manufacturing.