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Ruby: Jacobs University scientists are collaborating in the development of a new type of chocolate

Foto: Barry Callebaut


September 15, 2017

It has a reddish color and an intense berry taste. “At first, it’s hard to believe that it’s a pure cocoa product”, says Matthias Ullrich, Professor in Microbiology at Jacobs University. But that is exactly what it is. The microbiologist and his team, in cooperation with Barry Callebaut AG, the globally leading manufacturer of high quality chocolate and cocoa products with registered offices in Switzerland, have been participating in the creation of a new type of chocolate: Ruby.

Milk, dark and white chocolate – up to now there have only been three basic types of chocolate. Ruby, launched in Shanghai at the beginning of September, is now the fourth type. It is made from Ruby cocoa beans. No colorants, berry flavors or berries are added to the new product. Right now, Ruby cannot be bought in retail stores, since Barry Callebaut is a B2B enterprise, collaborating with renowned chocolate brands. Those brands now have the chance to integrate the reddish chocolate into their product portfolio. Depending on their plans, Ruby might be available for European consumers in about 18 months, Barry Callebaut estimates.  

Commissioned by Barry Callebaut, Jacobs University scientists are researching the quality and specific characteristics of a number of different cocoa beans, including Ruby. “Our goal is to find out what the constituents are”, says Ullrich. Once we know what they are, the interesting beans can be separated from those that are less interesting.

Barry Callebaut has been making use of Jacobs University’s expertise since 2012. The six-year project “Cometa” was started in 2014. The name stands for “Cocoa Metabolomics” - the analysis of all the metabolites of cocoa beans. Using the latest chemical methods, researchers can identify their main constituents, the polyphenols, lipids and peptides, that determine taste and flavor. Ten people are involved in the project, among them PhD students, post-docs and technicians.

The cocoa bean is also of particular interest for scientists because it consists of an extraordinarily large variety of chemical substances. One cocoa bean consists of around 20,000 different molecules. “This diversity alone is a scientific challenge”, says Prof. Ullrich. “In addition, the various analytical systems need to be linked in order to capture the particular properties of a bean.”

More information:

Questions will be answered by:
Prof. Dr. Matthias Ullrich | Professor of Microbiology
m.ullrich [at] | Tel.: +49 421 200-3245

About Jacobs University:
Jacobs University is a private, independent, English-language university in Bremen. Young people from all over the world study here in preparatory, Bachelor, Master, and PhD programs. Internationality and transdisciplinarity are special features of Jacobs University: research and teaching don’t just pursue a single approach, they address issues from the perspectives of multiple disciplines. This principle makes Jacobs graduates highly sought-after new talents who successfully strike out on international career paths.

Thomas Joppig | Jacobs University | Brand Management, Marketing & Communications
t.joppig [at] | Tel.: +49 421 200-4504

About Barry Callebaut Group:
With annual sales of about CHF 6.7 billion (EUR 6.1 billion / USD 6.8 billion) in fiscal year 2015/16, the Zurich-based Barry Callebaut Group is the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality chocolate and cocoa products – from sourcing and processing cocoa beans to producing the finest chocolates, including chocolate fillings,decorations and compounds. The Group runs more than 50 production facilities worldwide and employs a diverse and dedicated global workforce of close to 10,000 people.
The Barry Callebaut Group serves the entire food industry, from industrial food manufacturers to artisanal and professional users of chocolate, such as chocolatiers, pastry chefs, bakers, hotels, restaurants or caterers. The two global brands catering to the specific needs of these Gourmet customers are Callebaut® and Cacao Barry®.
The Barry Callebaut Group is committed tomake sustainable chocolate the norm by 2025 to help ensure future supplies of cocoa and improve farmer livelihoods. It supports the Cocoa Horizons Foundation in its goal to shape a sustainable cocoa and chocolate future.

Kim Ghilardi | Communication Manager
kim_ghilardi [at]  | Tel.: +41 43 204 03 26