Yum: Ruby Chocolate and the History of Chocolate Innovation

On Tuesday, September 5th, 2017, Swiss chocolate manufacturer Barry Callebaut announced in a press release that they had invented a brand-new type of chocolate. Called “ruby chocolate” after its natural rosy pink coloring, the candy is said to be wildly different from traditional milk, dark, or even white chocolate in both flavor and appearance. Despite having no fruit flavoring (which might be expected, considering its hue), Barry Callebaut has said that their new chocolate has a smooth, berry-like taste.

The inventors of the chocolate have described the product’s coming launch as an attempt to “satisfy a new consumer need found among millennials – hedonistic indulgence,” fulfilling that desire simply by being exciting and different.

The attractive color definitely doesn’t hurt the candy’s chances in this market, as young consumers have a history of embracing colorful foods. From rainbow bagels to black ice cream to Unicorn Frappuccinos, snacks that have a bold aesthetic are an in-demand commodity in the Instagram age.

Some have questioned whether or not it’s a good idea to mess with such a classic and beloved treat. The love of chocolate seems to be such a universal feeling that is has practically become cliché, and many consumers have a strong emotional investment in the sweet. From the Mayans to today’s trick-or-treaters, countless generations of enthusiasts from around the world have indulged and been delighted by the confection.


Chocolate has been around for centuries (early evidence of chocolate consumption has been dated as far back as 1900 B.C.), but the current trifecta of milk, dark, and white chocolate is a far more recent development than you might expect.

White chocolate was first launched by Nestle in Europe in the 1930s. It purportedly originated as a means of using up excess cocoa butter, as the product is made with a very high cocoa butter content. Today, cocoa butter must account for at least 20% of a white chocolate bar for it to legally qualify as such.

It wasn’t until 1948 that Nestle brought white chocolate to the U.S. on a mass scale, beginning with the almond-filled Alpine White chocolate bar. The bar was well-received and was available to consumers until the 1990s, when it was eventually discontinued.

Nestle was also involved in the creation of milk chocolate in the mid-1870s, as Henri Nestle, who invented powdered milk, helped inspire his friend and neighbor Daniel Peter to start adding milk to chocolate bars. Together they formulated the first successful milk chocolate recipe, which would go on to become a sensation.

Chocolate bars themselves had only been invented forty years prior to Nestle and Peter’s breakthrough, in 1847. Joseph Fry, in discovering a chocolate formulation that could be molded and would hold its shape, brought “eating chocolate” into the world, which had previously only known of chocolate as an ingredient in beverages.

All of this is to say that such a radical shake-up in the chocolate world is not as far-fetched as it may initially sound. We don’t yet know when ruby chocolate will be made commercially available, but it is entirely possible that it could change the game in ways we can’t yet imagine.




















Brand Extension Done Right

As we all know, the world of consumer packaged goods is littered with products that just don’t make sense.  The business environment is extremely competitive, and that competitiveness drives brand managers to constantly experiment with new products and innovations.  In many cases, these new products are so misaligned with their brands that consumers are left confused, and often even worse – irritated.  Buzzfeed recently featured a list of some of the most ridiculous (and hilarious) product failures of all time, which is worth a quick read.   Pizza Hut body spray?  Cheetos lip balm?  Yes please!!!

All that said, from time to time you see products that are so well-developed and so well-aligned with their brands that they just seemingly can’t miss.  We recently came across two such products, and of course we wanted to share with you all.  Below are a couple of products that, well, just make sense.

Texas Pete Cha!

Sriracha Brand Extension

We have long been surprised by how few Sriracha products exist on the market.  Sriracha is a Thai condiment that is made from a paste of chili peppers and vinegar, among other things.  It has very recently become one of the most popular condiments in the US, and it’s amazing that no national brands have entered into this market given its size and momentum.  To that end, there is only one dominant brand of Sriracha, which is produced by a little known company named Huy Fong Foods.  That said, Texas Pete, the maker of the #3 hot sauce in the country, is now planning a nationwide launch of its own Sriracha product, “Cha!”

Their entry into the Sriracha market is such a logical brand extension, as they have built a popular niche brand that is closely associated with hot sauces and condiments.  Sriracha is a perfectly reasonable extension for Texas Pete, and will allow them to enter into a cutting edge and growing product category, with precious little competition.  While nothing in life is guaranteed, how can this not work?

Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups

Peanut Butter Cup Brand Extension

In January 2014 Nestle will be taking Butterfinger into the peanut butter cup world.  While peanut butter cups are a fairly crowded field (dominated by Reese’s, no doubt), we love this brand extension almost as much as the Texas Pete Sriracha (almost).  Butterfinger has built incredibly strong brand equity as a crispy, peanut buttery and chocolaty candy bar.  Seems to be a natural fit to extend this reservoir of brand equity while introducing the loyal Butterfinger fans to a new chocolaty and peanut buttery product, in a category that should be very familiar to them.  Nestle intends to introduce the Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups with a Superbowl ad, and we cant wait to see it (and to try it ourselves).

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Nestle is Naturally good

If you read our blog, you can see that there are a lot of current trends between green packaging design, clean packaging, promoting healthy habits and so on. With that said, this new product from Nestle fits right in. A healthy habit that Nestle is pushing is natural tastes, without preservatives and food coloring.

Their product Beltè with Infused Fruit is just that. The infusion is a natural process that allows lemon and peach to free all of their flavors, giving freshness and goodness to iced tea.

So the challenge was, how to get this brand message across in a liter and a half package and how to make it recognizable on the shelves? Take a look–its tall and slender bottle with a square section, completely stands out among the array of short bottles with round sections. The result, also from a visual point of view, puts together marketing goals with aesthetics. The label transmits a sense of genuineness and goodness and exudes a lightness and fresh feeling. Furthermore the label, simply attached to the wide grip area, allows a constant physical contact between the brand and the consumer.

The stylized tea leaves on the shoulder and on the lower part of the bottle are a key element that gives graphical continuity to the spirit of the brand.

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