History of Gummy Bears


Have you ever popped one of these amazing candies into your mouth and wondered… Who made these? How did these delicious little things come into existence? Most people haven’t. But that’s okay, I’ll explain anyway.

I present to you… *drumroll* … THE HISTORY OF GUMMY BEARS!

Unlike the marshmallow, the gummy bear doesn’t have a great history, dating back to the time of the Ancient Egyptians. The gummy bear is actually less than 100 years old. Probably not much of a surprise to you, but if the marshmallow was that old why wouldn’t the gummy bear be approximately the same?

Okay, wait. Forget about that last paragraph. Apparently, gummy bears are almost exactly like marshmallows. They’re even made of the same thing: acacia gum. They’re even named after their main ingredient: also acacia gum (Gummy bear). Gummy bears supposedly descend from Turkish Delight (ever watched The Chronicles of Narnia?) and even Japanese candy. Except those are, obviously, more healthy. Not only this, gummy bears were also preceded in Britain by Wine Gums, Jujubes, and Chuckles.

This being said, the true history of the gummy bear began in 1922, by a man called Hans Riegel who lived in Bonn, Germany. Riegel called his company Haribo, after his name-Hans Riegel of Bonn. I know, creative. However, Haribo still exists today as a family-run company, even after a century and has become the biggest producer of gummy bears today!

Originally, gummy bears were based on the popular German dancing bears, and were called Tanzbär-literally meaning ‘dancing bear’. God, why was this guy so creative?

During World War Two, Hans Riegel was held in a prisoner-of-war camp, and Haribo was taken over by his son, Hans Riegel Junior (remember what I was saying about creativity?).  Hans Riegel Junior created gummy bears as we know them today. He created the golden Gummibärchen, and 7 years later, Haribo started producing multicolored bears.

Thirteen years later, Haribo was becoming a big name in the candy-manufacturing industry and soon enough, gummy products started to appear halfway across the world, in the USA. The Herman Goelitz company, or the Jelly Belly Candy Company produced the first American gummy bear and Trolli later created the first ever gummy worms.

Gummy products have evolved immensely ever since the Tanzbär and today, one can find gummy cherries, strawberries, alphabets, peaches, and even coke bottles!

I hope you learnt something new. Like, for instance, the fact that all modern candy is based on ancient candy! Or that Hans Riegel was a very creative guy (Hans Riegel Sr., that is).


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