Food for Thought: A Short History of Gummy Bears 8 years ago

Food for Thought: A Short History of Gummy Bears

We need food and drink to survive, to nourish us and to keep us in tip-top shape. But did you ever wonder about the history behind certain foods?

This week in "Food for Thought", we’re bringing you the story behind “Gummy Bears”.


The gummy bear originates in Bonn, Germany where they’re known as Gummibär or Gummibärchen.

In 1920, Hans Riegel began making sweets and confectionery in his home. His wife would then gather up the sweets and sell them from the basket of her bicycle. This is where the company Haribo was born.

Inspired by trained bears that regularly featured in street festivities, Hans began to develop the dancing gummy bear sweet.



In the beginning, natural gum from hardened sap was used for the original base ingredient for the product, hence the name gum or gummy. The small fruit-flavoured gum was affordable and became a favourite for both children and adults alike.

By the 1930’s, the business had grown to a factory with 160 workers and by 1950 it had risen to over 1000. The company entered the US market in 1982.

The exact recipe for the delicious gummies is closely guarded and Haribo remains as one of the largest manufacturers of gummy in the world.

It’s estimated that the company produces more than 80 million bears a day for distribution.