History of Gummy Candy

Time: 2014-04-25    Writer: choice_lantosThe gummi bear was the original form of gummi candy and was first produced in Germany. Though it is often spelled "gummy," the correct spelling is "gummy," based on the German name "gummibär," which translates to English as "rubber bear."

Today, gummi candy, which is made primarily of edible gelatin, can be found in every shape and size and is a staple of childhood. Gummy bears have a rich history, and while some may consider them to be an American candy, they weren't manufactured in America until almost 40 years after they were invented.


The creation of gummi candy is credited to Hans Riegel, a German man born in a village near Bonn in 1893. Hans dabbled in the candy industry at a company called Kleutgen & Meier until he decided to start his own company in 1920 at the age of 27. Hans named his company Haribo and began making hard candies.

When he realized a competitor was having a great deal of success selling a type of gelatin fruit candy, Hans and his wife began brainstorming to find a niche in that market. They decided to target children for their gummi candy, because Haribo's hard candy had been successful with that market. One day in 1922, they used a "dancing bear" mold for the fruit flavored gelatin, and the first gummi bear, soon to be known as the Haribo Goldbear, was born.


Hans chose the name Haribo by using the "ha" and "ri" from his first and last names, and the "bo" from his hometown of Bonn. The company started small, and when he married in 1921, his wife, Gertrud, became the first employee of Haribo.

The Goldbear was immediately popular with the local children, and Haribo grew rapidly. By 1930, Haribo employed 160 workers and had begun to build the presentday factory in Bonn. Also in 1930, the Haribo slogan was developed, which, when translated to English, means "Haribo makes children happy."

At the beginning of World War II, Haribo had 400 workers and was producing nearly 10 tons of candy each year. However, the limited rations during the war made gummi ingredients hard to come by, and by the end of the war, only a small number of workers remained.

Hans and Gertrud's two sons were captured as prisoners of war, and Hans died on March 31, 1945. Gertrud tried to keep the company afloat, but it was difficult. In 1946, Hans' sons, Hans Jr. and Paul, returned home and began rebuilding Haribo. They were successful, and by 1950, Haribo employed 1,000 workers and acquired Hans' old employer, Kleutgen & Meier.

American Gummies
German teachers in U.S. high schools brought gummies for their students to sample, and a demand for gummi bears began to grow in the U.S. Eventually, they began to be produced by the Herman Goelitz company, which was later renamed Jelly Belly Candy Company.

Haribo, who had always sold its gummies via U.S. distributors, opened its own distribution center in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1982. Because of the great demand for gummi bears in America, other companies began manufacturing their own versions of the candy, but no company has successfully duplicated Haribo's recipe.


In the 1960s, Haribo updated its slogan to "Kids and grown-ups love it so, the happy world of Haribo." Haribo continued to thrive, and today the company has manufacturers in various countries.

The same year Haribo began distributing in America, another German candy company called Trolli began selling the gummi worm, which became one of the most popular gummy candies. Over the years, various gummi candy shapes have evolved. The most popular include gummi cola bottles, gummi sharks, various gummi fruits and even gummi hamburgers.

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