A breakthrough by a Swiss chocolate maker expands the industry’s hues beyond just dark, milk and white.
Barry Callebaut AG, the world’s largest cocoa processor, has come up with the first new natural color for chocolate since Nestle SA started making bars of white chocolate more than 80 years ago.
While it has a pinkish hue and a fruity flavor, the Zurich-based company prefers to refer to it as “ruby chocolate.”
The new product may help boost sales in a struggling global chocolate market that producers hope has touched bottom. As Hershey cuts 15 percent of its staff and Nestle tries to sell its U.S. chocolate business, ruby chocolate raises the possibility that next Valentine’s Day may arrive with store shelves full of natural pink chocolate hearts.
“It’s natural, it’s colorful, it’s hedonistic, there’s an indulgence aspect to it, but it keeps the authenticity of chocolate,” the CEO said in a telephone interview. “It has a nice balance that speaks a lot to millennials.”
The new product may also appeal to Chinese consumers, a nascent market for chocolate, De Saint-Affrique said. The company has tested the product in the U.K., U.S., China and Japan through independent consumer research carried out by Haystack and Ipsos.
“We had very good response in the key countries where we tested, but we’ve also had very good response in China, which for chocolate is quite unusual,” he said, adding the color is attractive in that market.