Ruby Chocolate Is Hitting American Shores

Instead of going for milk, dark or white chocolate, cocoa cravers can think pink.

Oh, American chocolate fans. Your world is about to get rocked. Because pretty soon you will have a fourth option – beyond dark, milk and that previous Johnny-come-lately, white -- to satisfy your cocoa cravings.

Ruby chocolate, which contains no added flavor or color, has a pinkish hue, and is said to have a flavor that hints at berries, is hitting the U.S., the world’s largest market for chocolate. The first new natural chocolate color to make its debut since white chocolate began irritating purists in the 1930s, ruby chocolate comes courtesy of Switzerland bulk-chocolate giant Barry Callebaut AG.

After announcing the blushing new product, which had been in development for more than a decade, the Swiss chocolatier launched ruby chocolate first in Asia, specifically Shanghai, in September 2017. In Japan, Nestle introduced it to consumers in KitKat Ruby bars. Ruby chocolate subsequently became available in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Last week, it made a splash here in the U.S., when it hit the Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago. The Barry Callebaut show booth “was bustling with visitors eager to taste the pink chocolate-type thingamabob,” according to the Chicago Tribune.

The Food and Drug Administration has yet to grant permission for the ruby confection to be marketed as “chocolate” in the U.S., so that’s still a hurdle, but American consumers can already begin to try it as “ruby couverture,” with early products being offered under names like “ruby cacao bar” and “ruby cacao truffle.”

Here are a few things to know:

1. Ruby chocolate is made, without additives or GMO, using the Ruby cocoa bean, which grows in Ecuador, Brazil and Ivory Coast. The way the bean is processed enhances the “Ruby taste and color,” according to Barry Callebaut, which is keeping specifics confidential.

2. Kind of a dusty-rose or mauve color, ruby chocolate is said to have kind of a natural sweet-and-sour berry flavor. “Not as sweet as milk chocolate, not as intense as dark chocolate, and more flavorful than white chocolate,” observes the Chicago Tribune, while Peter Boone, president and CEO of Barry Callebaut Americas, told the paper the confection had “the smoothness of white chocolate with the fruitiness of berry in the end.”

3. Although it is already available in a few places (see here, here, here and here), it’s unclear if, when or how the major chocolate brands – like Hershey and Mars – will pick up on the new chocolate, but Boone says Barry Callebaut is hoping to appeal to millennial consumers because ruby chocolate is natural and “pure.” And also, you know … pink.

Photos courtesy of Barry Callebaut; Flickr

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