Now in its third generation, the family business is celebrating its 100th anniversary 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 Licorice Wheels? These are all good questions! The answers are revealed in our company history: have fun discovering more!
100 years of HARIBO: from a small kitchen to a global market leader
The family business can look back on a unique success story.
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 December 13th 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.
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 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.
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, his wife Gertrud has delivered the daily production by bicycle.
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.
Licorice produced for the first time
The second foundation stone in HARIBO’s success story: Hans Riegel begins producing licorice products. Licorice sticks with HARIBO lettering are one of the first customer favourites, soon followed by many other specialties such as the Licorice Wheels that are now famous around the world. And the DANCING BEAR welcomes a cousin: the BLACK BEAR.
A growing company
Trade representatives now supply all of Germany with HARIBO products. By the year 1933, the company has grown into a solid medium-sized enterprise 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 also joined by a new relative: the TEDDY BEAR.
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 early age of 52. His wife Gertrud manages operations on his behalf for a brief period after World War II.
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 company management from their mother. Dr. Hans Riegel is in charge of the commercial side, marketing and sales, while 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.
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 recognizes 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 advertises on TV for the first time
HARIBO recognizes 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 German YouTube channel provides insights into TV ads from more than 50 years of HARIBO advertising history.
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, stylized appearance, which they still have to this day.
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.
New colours for the Goldbears
The Goldbears get a makeover: the fruit and plant concentrates used make the colours a little softer. The yellow Goldbear illustration with red bow tie appears on the packaging for the first time.
Gottschalk begins advertising for HARIBO
The advertising partnership between HARIBO and famous entertainer Thomas Gottschalk kicks off and ultimately comes to an end in 2015. This unique 24-year advertising partnership even makes it into the Guinness World Records.
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.
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.
85 years of HARIBO Goldbears
For their 85th birthday, the Goldbears are 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!
Advertising that really takes off
Take-off for a unique, ten-year collaboration: two TUIfly Boeing 737-800 aircraft become flying ambassadors in the skies with an exclusive HARIBO Goldbear design: the GoldbAIR and from 2010 the HaribAIR. The colourful Tropifrutti airplane joins the HARIBO/TUIfly aircraft fleet in May 2015.
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.
Paul Riegel dies at the age of 83
Co-owner Paul Riegel dies unexpectedly on August 2nd 2009. He was in charge of production and technology. As an experienced inventor, he developed many machines himself, including his most famous invention, the licorice wheel winding machine. Paul Riegel was involved in numerous social projects and organizations, for which he was highly appreciated
HARIBO and motorsport
After motorsport successes from the 70s to the 90s, HARIBO returns to the racecourse with the Manthey team. With two Porsches featuring a HARIBO design, the team excels in the VLN Endurance Racing Championship and 24 Hours Nürburgring. In its final season in 2017, HARIBO takes ninth place in the 24 Hours cult race in the “Green Hell” with the Mercedes-AMG performance team.
Dr. Hans Riegel dies at the age of 90
Dr. Hans Riegel dies on October 15th 2013. He had managed the commercial side of HARIBO for 67 years and was thus the oldest active CEO in Germany. 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 kids and gown-ups.
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.”
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.
The big move
On May 2nd, the employees take up their work in Grafschaft, the new headquarters of HARIBO Germany and international headquarters of the HARIBO Group. Hans Guido Riegel: “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.”
HARIBO: 100 years young
HARIBO celebrated its 100th anniversary on December 13th, 2020. For nearly a century, HARIBO treats have inspired moments of childlike happiness for gummi fans of all ages. To celebrate HARIBO’s history, the company launched an anniversary campaign to share the fun with fans around the world.
HARIBO’s success has not been limited to the German market: as a global market leader in gummies and licorice, HARIBO is now available in more than 100 countries around the world. HARIBO produces its treats at 16 locations in ten countries and employs more than 7,000 people, who ensure 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.
Another recipe for success is the development of special sweets whose flavours are specially tailored to local preferences in different countries.