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Who invented Gummy Bears?

Happy birthday to a Gummy Bear!! It was originally a joke, but the nickname stuck, so gummy bears are that much cooler!

Hans Riegel was born in Friesdorf near Bonn in 1893, and trained to be a confectioner. He became a partner in the Heinen & Riegel company. He decided to start his own business and founded HARIBO on December 13, 1920 in Bonn, Germany. The name was derived from the first two letters of his first name, last name, and the town he was in, (HAns RIegel BOnn). Sweets production was launched in a small kitchen with nothing more than a sack of sugar, a marble slab, a stool, a stove, a copper pot and a rolling pin. His wife Gertrud became the new company’s first employee in 1921 as a bicycle delivery woman.

Hans Riegel laid the first foundation stone for HARIBO’s success when he invented the DANCING BEAR – a fruit gummy bear that became world-famous as the legendary HARIBO Goldbear -- in 1922. It was bigger than today’s Goldbears, but also slimmer.

An increase in demand prompted the first investment in modern transportian technology: HARIBO acquired its first car with advertising signs in 1923, which is used to supply customers from then on, replacing the daily bicycle trips for his wife.

Also in 1923, the first of their three children, Hans, was born, followed by daughter Anita in 1924 and son Paul in 1926. Hans and Paul begin managing the HARIBO company in the mid-40s.

The second foundation stone in HARIBO’s success story came in 1925. Hans Riegel began producing licorice products. Licorice sticks with HARIBO lettering are one of the first customer favorites, soon followed by many other specialities such as the world-famous Licorice Wheels of today. And the "Dancing Bear" welcomes a cousin: the "Black Bear". predecessor

By the year 1933, the company had grown into a solid medium-sized company with 400 employees. At the same time, the main building of the production facility in Bonn is completed. The latest stroke of genius is the simple and catchy advertising slogan: ‘Haribo macht Kinder froh’ (Haribo makes children happy). The "Dancing Bear" is joined by a new relative: the "Teddy Bear".

The HARIBO Goldbears hit the market in 1960. The huge success of the sweet cult product prompts HARIBO to have an official birth certificate issued for the Goldbears. In 1967, the German Patent Office officially recognizes the Goldbears as a registered trademark. They’re simply more than just gummy bears: you’ll find everything you need to know about them here.

Customers’ aesthetic sensibilities change in the 70s, and with them the shape of the Goldbears: the feet, which stuck out relatively far, were shortened and the Goldbears are given their compact, stylized appearance, which they still have to this day.

The Goldbears get a makeover, the colors are a bit softer due to the fruit and plant concentrates used. The yellow Goldbear illustration with red bow tie appears on the packaging for the first time in 1989.

For their 85th birthday, the Goldbears were given a new flavor, a new bag design and a uniform, cheerful smile. Apple is the sixth flavor to join the ranks.

Goldbears are America’s best-selling gummy bear candy and they continue to be the ‘gold standard’ of gummy treats globally. HARIBO produces 100 million Goldbears around the world every day. If all the gummy bears they produce in one year were lined up head to toe, it would create a chain that would circle the planet four times.

The family business is on its third generation and will celebrate its 100th anniversary December 13, 2020. The anniversary campaign will examine HARIBO’s fascinating history, but more importantly look to the future and ‘celebrate 100 years of joy together’ with the whole of Germany.

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