Is the U.S. ready for ruby chocolate? | TribLIVE.com
Food & Drink

Is the U.S. ready for ruby chocolate?

1155198_web1_chocolate-1492750c-7658-11e9-b7ae-390de4259661
Bloomberg
Ruby-chocolate KitKats produced by Nestle in Tokyo on Jan. 18, 2018.

The world’s largest chocolate market is finally getting a taste of the ruby range, the first new type in more than 80 years.

Switzerland’s Barry Callebaut, the top maker of bulk chocolates, is rolling out its ruby breakthrough in the United States almost two years after announcing the discovery. The new type of chocolate, with its pinkish hue, expanded the industry’s color palette beyond just dark, milk and white, and was the first new natural shade added since Nestle started making white bars in the 1930s.

Ruby has already made a splash in Asia, where Nestle was the first to adopt the invention, adding it to its KitKat bars starting in Japan. Barry Callebaut has also launched the chocolate in Europe, Australia and New Zealand and trials in the States proved successful, said Bas Smit, global vice president of marketing for the Zurich-based firm, the No. 1 cocoa processor.

“We know there’s a lot of appeal already for quite some time,” Smit said in a telephone interview. “The test market we had with some pioneer artists worked out very well, which made us decide now the next move is into the U.S., the biggest chocolate market in the world.”

What’s it taste like? Business Insider offers this assessment:

Barry Callebaut announced the invention of ruby chocolate in September 2017 after a decade of development. The innovation, based on a special type of cocoa bean that can be found in Ivory Coast, Ecuador and Brazil, has a natural berry flavor that’s sour yet sweet. Ruby first hit the consumer market in January 2018, when Nestle debuted its pink KitKat bars in Japan.

Tapping the U.S. market could boost Barry Callebaut’s sales and help establish ruby as the fourth type of chocolate. The invention is also being officially rolled out in Canada, where Nestle already sells its ruby KitKats.

But there are still some hurdles. The Swiss firm will have to wait for approval from the Food and Drug Administration to be able to call it “chocolate.” For now, the product will be launched as ruby couverture, with early adopters using names like ruby cacao bar and ruby cacao truffle, Smit said. A similar approval process is needed in Canada, he added.

“We filed the application in March 2018,” Smit said of the FDA process. “Because there’s such a high demand and requests coming from our businesses and brands in the U.S., it feels the right moment to give them the opportunity to unlock ruby chocolate.”

Another main hurdle the company may face is that Nestle has been the biggest adopter of ruby chocolate for its KitKat bars. But in the U.S., the KitKat brand is made by The Hershey Co. instead.

While Barry Callebaut says it won’t trademark ruby, the recipe to the world’s first naturally-pink chocolate remains a secret.

“Trademark is of course different than trade secrets,” Smit said. “Even if you know what the ruby bean is about, what the ruby production process is about, you still need to be comfortable enough to commit to volumes of big brands, meaning you need to be able to source enough ruby beans” and that’s not an easy task, he said.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.