100 years of HARIBO: From a humble home kitchen to a global market leader

The family business has a unique story of success.

Historic HARIBO advert, children playing with gummy bears and liquorice
Historic HARIBO advertising illustration

Our family business has now reached the third generation and we are celebrating our 100th birthday in 2020. When did we start using our slogan Haribo macht Kinder froh und Erwachsene ebenso (Haribo makes children happy and adults too)? Did the Goldbears always come in six colours? Who invented the HARIBO liquorice wheels? These are all good questions! The answers are revealed in our company history: have fun discovering more!

HARIBO founder Hans Riegel

1920

A small sweets company

Born in Friesdorf near Bonn in 1893, Hans Riegel trains to be a confectioner and becomes a partner in the Heinen & Riegel company. He founds HARIBO (HAns RIegel BOnn) on 13 December 1920 and launches his sweets production 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 becomes the new company’s first employee in 1921.

‘Tanzbär’ fruit gummy bears

1922

The DANCING BEAR sees the light of day

Hans Riegel lays the first foundation stone for HARIBO’s success when he invents the DANCING BEAR – a fruit gummy bear that would one day become world-famous as the legendary HARIBO Goldbear. It was bigger than today’s Goldbears, but also slimmer. Two DANCING BEARS cost just one Pfennig in Germany, which is currently in the grip of inflation.

Old car with HARIBO logo

1923

The first company car

An increase in demand prompts the first investment in modern transport technology: HARIBO acquires its first car with advertising signs, which is used to supply customers from then on. Up until that point, Gertrud Riegel had been delivering the daily production by bicycle.

Historic pictures of Hans Riegel’s children

1923

The Riegel family

Hans is born, the first of three children, followed by his sister Anita in 1924 and brother Paul in 1926. Hans and Paul begin managing the HARIBO company in the mid-40s.

Illustrated liquorice snake with eyes

1925

Liquorice produced for the first time

The second foundation stone in HARIBO’s success story: Hans Riegel begins producing liquorice products. Liquorice sticks with HARIBO lettering are one of the first customer favourites, soon followed by many other specialities such as the liquorice wheels that are now famous the world over. And the DANCING BEAR welcomes a cousin: the BLACK BEAR.

HARIBO employees in the 30s

1930

A growing company

Trade representatives now supply the whole of Germany with HARIBO products. By the year 1933, the company has 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.

Hans Riegel aged 52

1945

Difficult times

War and a shortage of raw materials take their toll on the economy – and not even HARIBO is spared. And in 1945, company founder Hans Riegel dies at the age of just 52. His wife Gertrud manages operations on his behalf for a brief period after World War II.

Historic picture of Paul Riegel

1946

A new generation

Restoration of the company begins with just 30 employees after World War II. In 1946, brothers Hans and Paul Riegel take over the company’s management from their mother. Dr Hans Riegel is in charge of the commercial side, marketing and sales, whilst his brother Paul is responsible for production. Success soon follows, with HARIBO employing around 1,000 people in 1950, just five years after the war.

Goldbear packaging from 1960

1960

The Goldbears are born!

The HARIBO Goldbears hit the market. 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 recognises the Goldbears as a registered trademark. They’re simply more than just gummy bears: you’ll find everything you need to know about our no. 1 product here.

HARIBO advertising film from 1962 for HARIBO sweets

1962

HARIBO advertises on TV for the first time

HARIBO recognises early on just how important the new medium of TV is, with HARIBO ads shown for the first time on German TV. In the mid-60s, the advertising slogan ‘Haribo macht Kinder froh’ (Haribo makes children happy) is expanded to include the phrase ‘und Erwachsene ebenso’ (and adults too). Our YouTube channel provides insights into TV ads from more than 50 years of HARIBO advertising history.

Goldbear packaging from 70s

1978

The Goldbears change their shape

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

Logo of MAOAM fruit chews

1986

MAOAM now belongs to HARIBO

HARIBO acquires Edmund Münster GmbH & Co. KG, which is now based in Neuss. The long-standing MAOAM brand now belongs to the HARIBO Group. Since it was introduced, the unmistakable MAOAM lettering has remained virtually unchanged and has long been one of the best-known classics of prominent trademarks.

Goldbear packaging from 1989, Goldbear with red bow

1989

New colours for the Goldbears

The Goldbears get a makeover: the colours become a little 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.

Thomas Gottschalk in Goldbear advert from 90s

1991

Gottschalk begins advertising for HARIBO

The advertising partnership between HARIBO and famous entertainer Thomas Gottschalk kicks off and will ultimately run until 2015. This unique 24-year advertising partnership even makes it into the Guinness World Records.

Illustration with HARIBO Chamallows

1996

Here come the Marshmallows

HARIBO acquires the Belgian sweets company Dulcia, which has been producing the highly popular Dulcia marshmallow products Soft-Kiss, Cocoballs and Rombiss for decades. In mid-2007, the name Dulcia is removed from the packaging and customers now find the foam sugar products under the name HARIBO Chamallows at the supermarket.

Paul Riegel receives an entry in the city of Bonn’s Golden Book

2006

Bonn honours Paul Riegel

The city of Bonn honours Paul Riegel with entry into the city’s Golden Book for the ‘outstanding contributions’ he has made to Bonn as a centre of commerce.

Thomas Gottschalk with life-sized Goldbear

2007

85 years of HARIBO Goldbears

For their 85th birthday, the Goldbears were given a new flavour, a new bag design and a uniform, cheerful smile. Apple is the sixth flavour to join the ranks. For consumers, that means that the Goldbears are now even fruitier!

Aeroplane with Goldbear and HARIBO logo

2008

Advertising that really takes off

Take-off for a unique, ten-year collaboration: two TUIfly Boeing 737-800 aircraft become flying ambassadors of the skies with an exclusive HARIBO Goldbear design: the GoldbAIR and from 2010 the HaribAIR. The colourful Tropifrutti aeroplane joins the HARIBO/TUIfly aircraft fleet in May 2015.

Disco ball

2009

The Juicy Goldbears are born!

The Juicy Goldbears are launched, with their soft consistency and now 25% fruit juice. The product is awarded the ‘HIT 2009’ prize by the trade magazine LEBENSMITTEL PRAXIS and is crowned ‘Bestseller 2009’ by the magazine Rundschau für den Lebensmittelhandel.

Dr Hans Riegel with order of the French Legion of Honour

2009

Dr Hans Riegel becomes a Chevalier

The French Foreign Office inducts Dr Hans Riegel into the Legion of Honour as Chevalier, an honour that has been granted to very few foreigners. Dr Hans Riegel had launched the HARIBO brand in France in 1967.

Portrait of Paul Riegel

2009

Paul Riegel dies aged 83

Co-owner Paul Riegel dies unexpectedly on 2 August 2009. He was in charge of production and technology. As an experienced inventor, he developed many machines himself, including his most famous invention, the liquorice wheel winding machine. Paul Riegel was involved in numerous social projects and organisations, for which he was highly appreciated.

Racing car in HARIBO design

2010

HARIBO and motor sport

After success in motor sport from the 70s to the 90s, HARIBO returns to the race track with Team Manthey. The team gives an impressive performance with two Porsches in the HARIBO livery at the VLN Endurance Racing Championship and at the 24h Race at the Nürburgring. In its 2017 farewell season, HARIBO ranks ninth on the ‘Green Hell’ track as the Mercedes-AMG Performance Team in the cult 24h Race.

Black and white photo of Dr Hans Riegel

2013

Dr Hans Riegel dies at the age of 90

Dr Hans Riegel dies on 15 October 2013. He had managed the commercial side of HARIBO for 67 years and was Germany’s oldest active managing director. He not only played a key role in shaping HARIBO, but also the sweets industry in Germany and abroad. Dr Hans Riegel dedicated his life to HARIBO and the desire to make life a little sweeter for people big and small.

Thomas Gottschalk and Michael Bully Herbig with Goldbears bag

2014

Bully, you take over!

The advertising partnership with German entertainer Thomas Gottschalk comes to an end after 24 years. As the face of HARIBO, he hands over the reins to Michael Bully Herbig and says: ‘I think it’s great that Bully Herbig will be my successor. I couldn’t have asked for anyone better.’

Aerial view of HARIBO site in Grafschaft

2014

A new start in Grafschaft

In 2013, HARIBO GmbH & Co. KG shareholders vote to establish a new site in Grafschaft, a municipality in Rhineland-Palatinate. Acquired the next year, the 27-hectare site offers ideal transport connections as well as space for a large logistics centre, one of the most cutting-edge production lines on three levels and a new, modern administration building.

HARIBO employees with life-sized Goldbear at the Grafschaft site

2018

The big move

On 2 May, the employees start work in Grafschaft – the new headquarters for HARIBO Germany and international headquarters for the HARIBO Group. Hans Guido Riegel says: ‘A big step for us and for HARIBO and another important milestone in the company’s history.’ He adds: ‘Bonn will always be part of HARIBO.’

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2020

HARIBO: 100 years young

The family business is now in its third generation and will celebrate its anniversary on 13 December 2020. HARIBO products have been representing delicious sweet snacks and bringing about small moments of joy for 100 years. The anniversary campaign will remember HARIBO’s fascinating history, but more importantly look to the future and celebrate 100 years of happiness together with the whole of Germany.

1920
2020

HARIBO worldwide

HARIBO’s success has not been limited to the German market: as a global market leader in fruit gummies and liquorice, HARIBO is now available in more than 100 countries around the world. HARIBO produces its treats at 16 locations worldwide and employs more than 7,000 people. Together, the team ensures that consumers can continue to enjoy their favourite products in the exceptional quality that they have come to expect.

We don’t just rely on old favourites: the product range is constantly growing as we introduce our own new sweets or acquire quality brands in Germany and abroad. The sales and production network is continuously expanding with excellent coverage to ensure that the products are always quickly available.

Adding to the recipe for success, special sweets are developed for different tastes and tailored to the preferences in the various countries.