With the growing interest in the health benefits of chocolate, cacao and cocoa, the fluctuating price of the tropical beans as well as the impact chocolate has on financial markets, chocolate makers, at all levels in the industry, have had to become more creative with their chocolate.
At a consumer level, this translates into chocolate being mixed in with other sweet treats, or making customers aware that you sell high-quality, specific kinds of chocolate.
Whether your choice is Dairy Milk, Oreos or Lindt Excellence 99% Cocoa and everything in between, the three key ingredients for your chocolate are: milk, dark and white chocolate.
For the first time in 80 years (since white chocolate was created in the 1930s) a chocolate giant claims they have created a fourth type of chocolate. Swiss chocolatiers Barry Callebaut have created the "Ruby" flavour, and unveiled it at an exclusive launch event in Shanghai, China on Tuesday. According to a Callebaut spokesperson, it apparently distinguishes itself from the other core flavours in its “berry-fruitiness and luscious smoothness”.
The company's scientists claim to have achieved this by unlocking the attributes of the Ruby cocoa bean over several years. Building on the completely natural red hue and berry-like coloring and flavoring respectively, it makes for "an intense sensorial delight".
The Swiss chocolatiers claim it's a “totally new taste experience, which is not bitter, milky or sweet.” Angus Kennedy, a chocolate expert, claims: “Ruby chocolate is very different and clever stuff. It’s refreshing and has a light, creamy texture".
What distinguishes Barry Callebaut's Ruby chocolate from the never-ending production line of new chocolates is its taste. Scientists claim that “It tastes so light and fruity you don't really realise you're gobbling up one chocolate the other, so it means consumers will be able to eat more of it than other types of conventional chocolate".
The Swiss chocolatiers are the largest manufacturer of chocolate and cocoa products in the world. Its trading company, the Barry Callebaut Group, has also been listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange since 1998.
Both should help with the longevity of the product, potentially being made for global consumption and taking it well beyond a marketing gimmick. As Angus Kennedy is quick to stress, however: “Whether this a good or bad thing depends on your point of view”.
Peter Boone, Chief Innovation and Quality Officer at Barry Callebaut, argues that "Ruby chocolate responds to growing demand among younger consumers for luxury products."
"Consumer research in very different markets confirms that Ruby chocolate not only satisfies a new consumer need found among Millennials – Hedonistic Indulgence - but also high purchase intent at different price points."
If you're wondering why your Instagram feed hasn't been inundated with pictures of the chocolate with Ruby-coloured coffee and other photogenic food-related objects, with captions like #rubylife #brunchwithrubynbae, the chocolate isn't available just yet, and will not be in stores for another six months or so.
It is very likely Ruby chocolate will be produced in many forms once it is released. Like a lot of products that claim to change their respective worlds as we know them, it will take a while to see any significant difference the new fourth chocolate will have.