The History of Gummi Bears

One of the world’s most popular confectionaries, gummi bears, are a classic sweet. These little multicolour bears happen to have a unique history and have even had some surprising statements made about them.  This week we celebrated international gummi bear day so there is no better time to delve in to the history of gummi bears and the unique claims made about them.

Gummi Bears
Gummi Bears

Haribo’s Humble Beginnings

Last year was the 100-year anniversary of when gummi bears were first made.  This history of gummi bears started with humble beginnings being delivered door to door via bike.  Back in 1922, Haribo started out making gummi bears in the small family kitchen using very few ingredients including just a sack of sugar, a marble block, brick oven, copper kettle and a rolling pin.  In the first few years of production the gummies were delivered by Riegel’s wife Gurtud via bike.  This was the set up right up until 1923 when the company bought a vehicle to keep up and manage increasing demands.

World War I

The founder of Haribo’s, Riegel, ran a very successful company expanding in the 1930s increasing their workforce to 400 employees and bringing out a variety of gummi bear flavours.  However, all this success came crumbling down when World War I began.  Both of Riegel’s sons were sent off to war and were captured and held in America.  During this time, Riegel died at the young age of just 52 meaning Gertrud was left to run the operations alone. 

When the war was over the sons returned to regrow the company and quickly took full control with Paul running the factory and production, and Hans Running the marketing and sales.  It was a huge undertaking as many stated that the factory nearly had to shut down post-war. For the brothers, it was just like starting from the ground up again.  The company grew into a superpower going from just 30 employees post- war to around 1,000 employees by 1950.

How Gummi Bears used to look in the past.
Gummi Bears of the past

The Swinging Sixties

Since the superpower started to grow the bears have also had some improvements along the way.  The bears were originally launched as the dancing bears then in the 60s  were rebranded to golden bears.  Their shape has changed as well.  The bears used to be slimmer and taller essentially more like a wild bear look before they became how they look today shorter, fatter and cuter.  This change in look helped make them more appealing to a younger audience.

The American Dream

The sweet treat continued to grow and sparked interest in the USA in 1980. In 1982 Haribo set up its first US distribution centre. Then golden bears then went on to spark even more public interest when in 1985 Disney produced an animated series called “Adventures of the Gummi Bears”. This show helped to secure the sweets place in American pop culture.

Since their TV appearance in 1985, gummi bears have remained a favourite all round the world.  They are sold in 100 countries and this interest has led to some interesting claims.

One of the most obscure claims is that the gummies can be good for your teeth!  This claim came after researchers found that gummies with xylitol can prevent tooth decay.  Now the Haribo scientists are hard at work trying to make a new healthy bear recipe with tooth decay prevention and even vitamins packed into the little cute bears to make them healthy for all.

Now adays over 160 million golden gummi bears are made worldwide every day. Next time you eat a gummi bear take a minute to appreciate this interesting past that they have from name changes to what they are made from.  Through it all one thing has remained the same however, they are simply delicious! 

How gummi bears look today.
Gummi bears of today
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