The launch of RubyChocolate.com lands just days before Nestlé Japan – where Ruby first showed face in KitKat form – will introduce a new range of Ruby products. KitKat Everyday Nuts and Cranberry will be available at select retailers in Japan starting on March 25.
Barry Callebaut describes Ruby as the ‘it’ chocolate, one that has spurred renewed interest in cacao across the globe.
"The primary goal of the platform is not to educate, but to invite consumers to share their voice," Bas Smit, global VP of marketing told ConfectioneryNews. "Consumers are welcomed to express what kind of sensorial delights they would prefer to gift to others, or indulge themselves."
Visitors to the website first see images of cacao beans and the pink hue of Ruby chocolate in the making. They can explore a digital map of retailers offering the chocolate, which will 'fill over time,' and view Instagram posts with the tag #rubylicious or #rubychocolate.
"Since Ruby chocolate is owned by nobody, but all, she celebrates the power of the crowd on RubyChocolate.com," said Smit. The 'crowd' will determine Ruby's place as a new chocolate standard next to Dark, Milk and White.
Perhaps most importantly, the ‘Answers About Ruby’ page offers answers to commonly asked questions: Is this a new type of bean? What does it taste like?
Particularly intrigued consumers can dive into the process of making ruby chocolate, “a discovery which happened to be unique,” Smit told ConfectioneryNews last month.
Trendsetting across categories
Thanks to social media, the rise of Ruby has been swift. It has expanded beyond food applications to industries such as cosmetics – it is both a color and a scent.
Google searches for Ruby have surpassed 120 million since its launch, according to Barry Callebaut, more than 15% of the volume for milk chocolate. For comparison, milk chocolate accounts for 70% of global chocolate sales.
At the KitKat Chocolatory in Japan, the Ruby Sublime bars accounted for 30% of sales since launching and broke sales records during the Valentine’s Day season. In fact, it was so popular that it sold out within 30 minutes every day for the first few weeks, a Nestlé spokesperson told ConfectioneryNews.
In the UK, Nestlé added a limited edition Baci Perugina (the Italian chocolate and praline brand) made with Ruby chocolate for the holiday season. In February, UK consumers could try a Ruby chocolate bar with raspberries.
Prestat, Leonidas, Hug Wernli, Fabelle and Fazer have also introduced Ruby products, Smit said.
Asked where producers find themselves in the new four-standard landscape, he added, "Like with any innovation there are pioneers and followers. It depends on the nature of the brand when they will deploy initiatives like Ruby chocolate."
The pink-hued chocolate is now available in 40 markets – but still not the US, where the FDA has tied up approving it as a form of chocolate.