Ruby cocoa officially arrived in the U.S. market last week. TNS
Barry Callebaut’s ruby — a pink-hued cocoa with a slight berry flavor — officially launched in North America last week, promising to add a splash of color to cakes, bon bons, ice cream and all manner of sweets.
The Swiss chocolatier, which added no color or flavor to achieve the pink concoction, is billing its invention as the greatest innovation in chocolate since Nestle introduced white chocolate 80 years ago.
Now, if only it can get the Food and Drug Administration to agree.
Barry Callebaut, which has its North American headquarters in Chicago, has been waiting for more than a year to get permission from the FDA to market ruby as “chocolate,” with the hope of creating a fourth type of chocolate after dark, milk and white.
Once it gets a temporary marketing permit and can sell the product as chocolate, it can begin gauging interest from manufacturers and consumers in creating a whole new category of chocolate that it says could be a game-changer for the $22 billion U.S. chocolate industry.
Peter Boone, president and CEO of Barry Callebaut Americas, said the company could no longer wait to bring the product to the U.S. because customers were so eager for it after seeing its success in Asia, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. A soft launch in the U.S. with a small group of artisans over the past six months — including Vosges Haut-Chocolat, Chocolove and Trader Joe’s — also was popular.
For now, Barry Callebaut is calling the product ruby couverture. Whatever it’s called, chocolate lovers are excited.
At the Sweets & Snacks Expo at McCormick Place this week, the Barry Callebaut booth was bustling with visitors eager to taste the pink chocolate-type thingamabob.
“If you’re looking for something unique, this definitely fits that profile,” said Toni Montoya, marketing and projects manager at TR Topper, a Colorado-based company that supplies chopped candy for Dairy Queen Blizzards and other desserts that use chopped toppings.
She took a bite of a marshmallow enrobed in Callebaut Ruby. “I like the texture. It’s soft. It pops with flavor, it’s smooth in your mouth,” Montoya said. “You can taste a hint of strawberry.”
There was no indication from Mondelez International that ruby Oreos are in the works.
The Irvine, Calif.-based company, which is seeking retailers to bring its products to consumers, has produced a PB and Ruby, a peanut butter cup with ruby providing a subtle jam flavor; Pink Lemonade, which pairs the pink chocolate with lemon truffle filling; and Ruby Snaps, which are crunchy ruby chocolate squares with organic quinoa and raspberries.
“We are ready to go before anyone else is,” Foley said.
He expects people who love milk and white chocolate will love ruby. Still, Foley stopped short of calling ruby a game-changer. With health-conscious consumers asking for chocolate with more cocoa and less sugar, he expects healthier dark chocolate to be a bigger trend than the pink stuff.
U.S. chocolate lovers eager to taste what all the fuss is about can find Ruby Truffles from Vosges Haut-Chocolat, Ruby Cacao Bars from Chocolove and Ruby Cacao Truffles from Harry and David.
Trader Joe’s offered Ruby Cacao Wafers for a limited time around Valentine’s Day.
Tribune News Service
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