In 2017, Barry Callebaut chose Shanghai for its big reveal of Ruby chocolate, which has since become a towering success and available in over 40 global markets. For its latest Wholefruit chocolate innovation, the Swiss-based supplier chose San Francisco – for a reason.
Launched to a group of industry journalists and chefs in a former warehouse in the upcoming Dogpatch district, the new ‘Cacaofruit Experience’ is an innovative range of products that celebrates the fresh, fruity taste and natural richness of the cacaofruit and “marks the creation of a next-gen food and drink category,” the company claimed.
In a two-day visit to San Francisco, the invited press party was giving a taster of the concept behind the Cacaofruit Experience with a tour of some of the city’s food start-ups (systematically-themed burgers; nerdy, fresh ice cream; artisan teas fresh from Japan) leading the food innovation industry.
San Francisco is, of course, known for its tech scene, but it is also the perfect breeding ground for disruptors in the food sector – and it is where Barry Callebaut has firmly planted its flag with the introduction of Wholefruit, a brand new category, which they refer to as ‘Cacaofruit Experiences’.
‘The world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality chocolate and cocoa products’ is hardly a struggling start-up, but for this launch, unlike Ruby, it is ignoring its industrial clients, for now, and focussing on a select group of pastry chefs and confectioners before a wider roll-out in May 2020. It will make the category available to its larger manufacturing customers from 2021.
Cocoa and chocolate analyst Clay Gordon, who has been involved in the confectionery sector for more than 20 years, said: “It’s early days still. We saw and tasted four things – two chocolates, a juice, and a flour [in the crumble in many dishes]. What actually drives innovation is a complex question. Whatever one thinks of Ruby as a product, it is wildly popular in Japan, a core driver of the development of Ruby was the question, ‘Why does chocolate have to be a shade of brown?’ The answer, of course, is that it doesn’t, but for thousands of years brown was the color of cocoa and chocolate.
“Stripped to its essentials, the Wholefruit initiative looks beyond the seed to examine what can be done with the whole fruit, including the pulp, juice, and pod (aka cabosse and mazorca). This examination extends to the entire supply chain as well as the role of cacao in the food system in general.”
- Watch our behind the scenes video of the launch to get the full flavor of Barry Callebaut’s ‘Cacaofruit Experiences’.