As temperatures continue to climb, consumers are looking for new ways to enjoy ice cream and frozen desserts throughout the summer. According to Swiss chocolate manufacturer Barry Callebaut, Ruby chocolate, the “fourth type of chocolate,” opens new taste horizons for ice cream manufacturers with plentiful opportunities for applications. Meanwhile, July marks National Ice Cream Month in the US which coincides with months of global lockdowns and travel restrictions which has led to increased sales and consumption of ice cream and frozen desserts in general.

John Pimpo, Market Segment Manager for Ice Cream at Barry Callebaut, says the ice cream category has grown 20 percent over the past few months. “The data shows that consumers are nesting during COVID-19 and stocking their freezers with comfort food. With people staying at home more, we see the increased purchase and consumption of ice cream. Consumers are craving a feeling of togetherness, unity and less division. Dessert is a way to bring the family together, share quality time and create special memories. Ice cream has the power to do that,” he tells FoodIngredientsFirst.   

The rise of Ruby
He also flags nostalgic flavors being reborn, premium, “elevated” ingredients and exciting flavor pairings. “For example, instead of a strawberry ice cream bar, we expect to see more Ruby chocolate-coated ice cream bars,” he notes. “Consumers will be looking for familiarity and we will continue to see indulgence, but it will be ‘permissible indulgence.’”  
“There is a significant opportunity for Ruby in the frozen dessert segment,” Pimbi urges. “We have already seen Ruby’s success in coatings for bars and cones, but there are many other applications for Ruby,” he states. 
First, Ruby is in ice cream as a flaked chip, but it can also continue to be used as a coating for bon-bon type, one-bite desserts, or in or around ice cream sandwiches or simply as a decoration or drizzle. Barry Callebaut chefs have worked on pairing options for Ruby to see which flavors match best. 
“Ruby is naturally fruity, so it pairs well with berries but also with other fruits like citrus. Other pairings include nuts, spices, spirits and texture marriages with crunchy elements and seeds,” he asserts. 
“Ruby ice cream coating is a game-changer for the ice cream market,” declares Martin Diez, a chef at Barry Callebaut. “The texture of Ruby allows you to taste all of its unique flavors and nuts like pistachios, which create a colorful green and pink composition perfect for a summertime treat.”