Barry Callebaut’s ruby chocolate is the perfect product for the social media age. Millennials will fight to be the first among their friends with Instagram pictures of them eating this “fourth” type of chocolate. However, it remains to be seen whether ruby chocolate will become a sustainable opportunity for confectioners, or if the product will sink into oblivion once everyone gets tired of seeing 'ruby selfies' in their social media feeds.

The fourth type of chocolate is perfect for the social media age

Barry Callebaut has revealed a new fourth type of chocolate next to milk, dark, and white. It’s called Ruby, and is naturally pink in colour, with berry-like fruity flavour.   For now, there is only a small amount of information available for Ruby cocoa, therefore it is still mystery whether it will really be the fourth chocolate type. However, if proves successful, Ruby cocoa fits what younger consumers today seek for in products; a social-media ready product that can reflect their ideal lifestyle.

The Ruby cocoa beans are farmed in the Ivory Coast, Ecuador and Brazil, with no genetic modification was carried out during the process. The company has been experimenting with Ruby cocoa for 13 years, since its first discovery of the beans. Products made using this new ingredient will hit the UK market within 6-12 months from now.

Give millennials an experience they will trade up to

According to Peter Boone, Barry Callebaut’s Chief Innovation & Quality Officer, Ruby is targeted at Millennials who are now the biggest generation, outnumbering the Baby Boom generations worldwide. They are now reaching their prime working and spending years, therefore more likely to be experimental. Being married and having kids in later years also means they have more freedom to spend while they’re young, and means they enjoy the buying power to trade up and indulge. This suggests that Ruby chocolate will likely to be sold at premium rate.

The challenge for Barry Callebaut will be convincing skeptical consumers that products that use Ruby will be worth the price and are genuinely different from flavoured and coloured chocolates. As the company mentioned previously, Millennials are a good target consumers, but also for countries such as China and Japan where novel premium products are even more appreciated, and where consumers value branding and high quality products as part of their lifestyles. For countries such as the UK, long term growth for ruby chocolate will need a level of justification beyond just “this is different”. This should initially come from targeting as special occasions like Valentine’s Day.

The key here is that chocolates are generally considered to be a means of reward, so as long as the occasion and the quality is justified, consumers are likely to feel less hesitant to pay more.