Those beans come from Ecuador, Brazil and Ivory Coast. But genetically they are nothing new. They come from the same species of cacao plant that begets the chocolate we already know.
Peter Boone, the company’s chief innovation and quality officer, said in a phone interview on Wednesday that Callebaut spent years working with Jacobs University, a private institution in Germany, to study the chemical compounds that make up cocoa beans. “We wanted to know what’s in there, and how it relates to taste and health.”
He said the beans that earn ruby status have a particular mix of compounds, but wouldn’t explain further. Nor would he give details about the processing methods that bring out the chocolate’s pink hue and fruity taste.
Dom Ramsey, who is a chocolate maker, a chocolate expert, a chocolate consultant and the author of a book called “Chocolate,” said in an email on Wednesday that he was skeptical of Callebaut’s claim that it had created a fourth type of chocolate.
He pointed to the French chocolate manufacturer Valrhona, which made a similar claim in 2012 about a golden variety it called “Blond Dulcey.”
He said ruby chocolate was “intriguing,” but hard to evaluate without knowing how it is produced. “It’s likely to be a process that Callebaut keeps as a trade secret, so not something we’re likely to see outside of Callebaut’s own range,” he said.
Callebaut’s news release was more forthcoming about some of the company’s business plans, though it indulged in a fair amount of marketing jargon.
Ruby chocolate “satisfies a new consumer need found among millennials — hedonistic indulgence,” it said, in a quote attributed to Mr. Boone.
On Wednesday, Mr. Boone explained that according to market research, different consumers have different needs. Those who see chocolate as a way to relax might savor a darker blend. Others are all about “sharing” and might think of milk chocolate a nice gift.
But Mr. Boone said “hedonistic indulgence” is a consumer need that “is particularly driven and requested by millennials,” and that ruby chocolate, more than any other kind, addresses that need specifically because it is flavorful and exciting.
And it comes in that gee-whiz hue.
“‘Ruby chocolate’ is very much a marketing term,” Mr. Ramsey said, adding that the final product, which he has not yet tasted, might be genuinely interesting. “Unless and until Barry Callebaut are a little more open about what it actually is, it’s very difficult to judge.”
Callebaut sells chocolate and other cocoa products to businesses, not consumers, so the company cannot say for sure when this new product will hit the shelves. Kim Ghilardi, Callebaut’s media relations manager, estimated that it could take from six to 18 months, and that it would vary depending on the country and the vendor.