Barry Callebaut Group, the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality chocolate and cocoa products, has recently announced that the first ever expression of ruby chocolate fully dedicated to artisans and chefs – Callebaut Finest Belgian Chocolate ruby RB1 – will be available in China from September this year.
To celebrate the launch, Callebaut ruby RB1 was unveiled – for the first time in Asia Pacific – at a sneak preview at Bakery China, one of the biggest bakery and confectionery events in the country held from 9 to 12 May.
“Ruby is the most exciting thing to happen in the chocolate industry in decades,” said Barry Callebaut’s Vice President for Global Gourmet, Pascale Meulemeester. “We are proud to offer this 4th category of chocolate after milk, dark and white chocolates 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.”
The introduction of ruby RB1 in China reaffirmed the company’s market growth and expanded Gourmet offering to meet the needs of the fast-growing segment of professional users of chocolate in China. 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. The company’s gourmet business in the country has doubled in volume over the past 5 years.
Denis Convert, Barry Callebaut’s Vice President for Gourmet in Asia Pacific added, “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.”
With its arresting color and unique taste, ruby RB1 satisfies a yet unmet desire for extreme pleasure, delighting all senses. Research conducted in several countries including China showed that it resonates strongly with a new generation of consumers, mainly millennials (18–35 years old) who balance a healthy lifestyle with the quest for extreme pleasure.
RB1 owes its color and specific taste solely to the expert selection and meticulous processing of the ruby beans – no fruit flavoring or colorants are added to the chocolate. “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,” said, George Zhang, Barry Callebaut’s Managing Director for China. “We are confident that Callebaut Finest Belgian Chocolate ruby RB1 will create an exciting new food experience in China."
This year, Barry Callebaut also celebrates the 10th anniversary of its chocolate factory in Suzhou, China which was built at a cost of US$20 million in January 2008. In this factory, Barry Callebaut manufactures chocolate for global and local food manufacturers, and also imports premium European chocolate for artisanal and professional users of chocolate. The company is also the outsourcing partner for a growing number of Chinese food manufacturers seeking high-quality chocolates.
Since the start of its Suzhou factory, the company had made several further investments in China in the last 10 years which included an additional production line for white chocolate, research lab, pilot plant, building a highly skilled workforce and an environmental-friendly facility. It has also created a new Chocolate Academy™ center in Shanghai where it has trained more than 3,000 professionals.
The robust chocolate segment in China has ample room for further growth as Euromonitor estimated that the chocolate confectionery segment will grow from US$2.8 billion currently to US$3.9 billion by 2021.