The announcement came two months after Barry Callebaut first developed RB1 in Belgium with a goal of unleashing “a wave of creativity that will lead to exciting new products and concepts,” Mathieu Brunfaut, global group brand leader of Callebaut, previously said.
The company will unveil RB1 for a sneak preview at Bakery China (May 9 to 12, 2018) in Shanghai prior to the official launch.
Barry Callebaut has guarded the process for Ruby as a trade secret, but noted the pink-colored, berry-flavored chocolate was derived naturally by isolating specific compounds in cocoa beans. Thus, it is the fourth type of chocolate after milk, dark and white varieties.
Nestlé became the first major chocolate maker to adopt Ruby to make its KitKat range: it first brought the products to Japan and South Korea, and, most recently, expanded them to the UK and Australia.
Nor Badron, corporate communications director at Barry Callebaut Asia Pacific, said it normally takes brands six to 18 months to develop recipes.
"We're pleased that Ruby chocolate has come to life so quickly through our partnership with Nestlé... More Ruby chocolate products will be made for the consumers in months to come," he said.
Operations in China
Barry Callebaut said the RB1 launch was to meet the needs of the fast-growing segment of professional users of chocolate in China, where its gourmet business has doubled in volume over the last five years.
“Gourmet products – chocolate and cocoa products that are typically used by artisan professionals such as chocolatiers, pastry chefs, bakeries, hotels, restaurants and caterers – have fueled the business growth of Barry Callebaut in China,” it said.
The chocolate provider has eyed China as potentially one of the world’s biggest chocolate markets in the future, although it still has plenty of room to grow.
Earlier this year, Barry Callebaut invested $20m in its China operation and created a digital marketing platform on the country’s leading social media channel WeChat.
“With China becoming the largest e-commerce market in the world, Callebaut’s range of chocolate is now also available on e-commerce sites including Tmall for the professional chocolatiers across China, doubling [our] online sales in the last 12 months,” it said.
The company will also hold its annual Gourmet Pastry Chefs event in June 2018 in Shanghai – the first in Asia Pacific – expecting more than 50 chefs from 20 countries to present their chocolate confectionery innovations.