Go fourth and conquer: First it was KitKat, now ruby chocolate for chefs to hit China market

By Lester Wan

- Last updated on GMT

Offering ruby chocolate to China artisans and chefs will unleash a wave of creativity that will lead to new products and concepts, said Pascale Meulemeester, VP for Global Gourmet.
Offering ruby chocolate to China artisans and chefs will unleash a wave of creativity that will lead to new products and concepts, said Pascale Meulemeester, VP for Global Gourmet.
The world’s 'fourth category of chocolate' — ruby from Barry Callebaut — will be available to chefs in China from September.

The Callebaut ruby RB1 has just been unveiled for the first time in Asia Pacific at Bakery China, from May 9 to 12.

The consumer version was launched last September, with KitKat going on to unveil ruby products in numerous markets following its debut in Japan and South Korea in January.

"We are proud to offer this fourth category of chocolate — after milk, dark and white — under the Callebaut brand and our Finest Belgian Chocolate range. Offering ruby chocolate to artisans and chefs in China will unleash a wave of creativity that will lead to exciting new products and concepts for people to enjoy​," said Pascale Meulemeester, vice-president for Global Gourmet, Barry Callebaut.

Growth through gourmet

The introduction of the premium ruby RB1 chocolate seeks to meet the needs of the fast-growing segment of professional users of chocolate in China.

Gourmet products — chocolate and cocoa products used by artisan professionals such as chocolatiers, pastry chefs, bakeries, hotels, restaurants and caterers — have fuelled Barry Callebaut’s business growth in China.

The company's gourmet business in China has doubled in volume over the last five years.

Said Denis Convert, vice-president for Gourmet, Asia Pacific, Barry Callebaut, “During the past decade, we have been working with chocolate manufacturers and food service companies to deliver high-quality chocolate to the Chinese consumers.”

“Ruby chocolate fuels our excitement about the future of chocolate in China which we believe has the potential to become one of the biggest chocolate markets in the world."

The young middle class

With ruby RB1 having a unique colour and taste, research in several countries (including China) has shown that it resonates strongly with a new generation of consumers, especially millenials aged 18 to 35 years old.

Said George Zhang, managing director for China, Barry Callebaut, "Food culture is very important to all Chinese people, and a growing taste for artisanal gourmet chocolate in China is changing the way Chinese are eating chocolate.

“Ruby chocolate's fruity character with fresh, sour notes and low sweetness should be particularly appealing to the Chinese market.

"We are confident that Callebaut Finest Belgian Chocolate ruby RB1 will create an exciting new food experience in China."

Growth in China

Barry Callebaut celebrates the 10th anniversary of its chocolate factory in Suzhou, China, inaugurated in January 2008.

There it manufactures chocolate for global and local food manufacturers —using chocolate and cocoa as ingredients in consumer products — and also imports premium European chocolate for artisanal and professional use.

The company is also the outsourcing partner for a growing number of Chinese food manufacturers seeking high-quality chocolate.

Moreover, with China becoming the largest e-commerce market in the world, Callebaut's range of chocolate is now also available on popular e-commerce sites such as Tmall. The company's online sales have doubled within the past 12 months.

According to market research by Kadence, taste is the single most important driver for Chinese consumers. Other motivations include deriving an emotional "feel good" ​sensation from the eating experience.

RB1 owes its colour and specific taste solely to the expert selection and meticulous processing of the ruby beans — no fruit flavouring or colorants are added to the chocolate.

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