As a family business in its third generation, we celebrated our 100 year anniversary in 2020 and 100 Years of Goldbears in 2022. Enjoy taking a look at our history and reading about where we are today.
100 years of HARIBO, from a home kitchen to a global market leader
A small sweets company
Born in the town of Friesdorf near Bonn, Germany 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 at a home 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 company’s first employee in 1921.
The DANCING BEAR makes its debut
Hans Riegel lays the foundation for HARIBO’s success when he invents the DANCING BEAR – a gummi bear that would one day become world-famous as the iconic HARIBO Goldbear. It was bigger than today’s Goldbears, but also slimmer.
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 delivered the daily production by bicycle.
Hans Riegel Jr. is born, the first of three children, followed by daughter Anita in 1924 and son Paul in 1926. Hans and Paul begin managing the HARIBO company in the mid-1940s.
Liquorice produced for the first time
Hans Riegel begins introducing liquorice products. Liquorice sticks with HARIBO lettering are one of the first customer favorites, soon followed by many other specialities including the famous Liquorice Wheels of today. And the DANCING BEAR welcomes a cousin: the BLACK BEAR.
Welcome to a new decade
Sales representatives now supply all of Germany with HARIBO products. By the year 1933, HARIBO has grown into a solid medium-sized company with 400 associates. At the same time, the main building of the production facility in Bonn is completed. Also during this time, the simple and catchy advertising slogan: ‘Haribo macht Kinder froh’ (Haribo makes children happy) is born. The DANCING BEAR is joined by a new relative: the TEDDY BEAR.
War and a shortage of raw materials take their toll on the economy. In 1945, company founder Hans Riegel dies at the 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, relieving 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.
Goldbears are born!
HARIBO Goldbears hit the market and quickly become fan favorites. The huge success of the new gummi classic inspires HARIBO to create an official birth certificate for Goldbears. In 1967, the German Patent Office officially recognizes HARIBO Goldbears as a registered trademark. They’re more than just gummi bears; find out more 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-1960s, the advertising slogan ‘Haribo macht Kinder froh’ (Haribo makes children happy) is expanded to include the phrase ‘und Erwachsene ebenso’ (and adults too). You can learn more by visiting our YouTube channel which shares insights into TV ads from more than 50 years of HARIBO advertising history.
Goldbears change their shape
As a result of a changing media landscape, consumers’ taste in visuals and marketing change in the 1970s, and with them the shape of Goldbears. The feet, which stick out relatively far, are shortened and Goldbears are given their compact, stylised appearance, which they still have to this day.
HARIBO comes to the U.S.
HARIBO first expanded to the United States in the early 1980s with a small office in Baltimore, Maryland.
MAOAM is now part of 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 most well-known classics in prominent trademarks. MAOAM products are beloved by fans around the world, but the brand isn’t currently available in the U.S.
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 popular Dulcia marshmallow products Soft-Kiss, Cocoballs and Rombiss for decades. In 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. Chamallows are not currently available in the U.S.
Bonn honours Paul Riegel
The city of Bonn honors Paul Riegel with entry into the city’s Golden Book for the ‘outstanding contributions’ he has made to Bonn as a location of commerce.
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, who is in charge of production and technology, dies unexpectedly on August 2, 2009. 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 organizations, for which he was held in high esteem.
Dr Hans Riegel dies at the age of 90
Dr. Hans Riegel passes away on October 15, 2013. He had managed the commercial side of HARIBO for 67 years and was the oldest active Managing Director 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 people of all ages.
A new start in Grafschaft
In 2013, HARIBO GmbH & Co. KG shareholders vote to establish a new site in Grafschaft, Germany. Acquired the next year, the 67-acre site offers the ideal transport connections as well as space for a large logistics center, one of the most cutting-edge production lines on three levels and a new, modern administration building.
HARIBO establishes U.S. Headquarters in Rosemont, Illinois
In 2015, HARIBO of America officially established its headquarters in Rosemont, Illinois, after relocating from its previous sales office in Baltimore, Maryland, where it began in 1982. In 2015 HARIBO of America had fewer than 15 associates, and today there are nearly 100 in the fields of Sales, Finance, Communications, Marketing, Customer Service, Supply Chain and Human Resources.
HARIBO Announces Plans for U.S. Factory
In 2017, HARIBO announced plans to build its first-ever North American production facility in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin. The 137 acre site will be a multi-phased construction project that will bring jobs to the Midwest and allow us to better serve customers throughout the U.S.
The big move
On May 2, 2018, HARIBO associates officially begin working in Grafschaft, the new headquarters of HARIBO Germany and international headquarters of the HARIBO Group. The original HARIBO factory in Bonn, Germany still remains operational.
HARIBO becomes America’s #1 gummi brand*
In 2018, HARIBO became the #1 gummi brand in the U.S., seeing exponential growth as a result of consistent quality, fun flavors and innovation loved by gummi fans nationwide.
*IRI 2018 By Units Sold
HARIBO announces community partnerships
In 2019 HARIBO announced partnerships with organizations in our future home of Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin. HARIBO believes everyone deserves access to quality, affordable education, and a safe space to learn and play. This is why we partner with the Boys & Girls Club of Kenosha as well as the University of Wisconsin-Parkside and Gateway College. We support internship programs, classroom learning and revitalizing spaces for enhanced student engagement.
HARIBO debuts first-ever micro-binge series, Chewy Channel
Building on the star power of HARIBO gummies, we created the Chewy Channel for IGTV, the world’s first streaming network for shrinking attention spans. A new series comes out every month, using the classic tropes of television and streaming platforms as our guide. Follow us on Instagram to catch the latest episodes of Chewy Channel and join in the fun!
HARIBO: 100 years young
HARIBO will celebrate its 100th anniversary on December 13, 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 will launch an anniversary campaign to share the fun with fans around the world as we look to the future to celebrate another 100 years of joy together.
HARIBO is now available in more than 120 countries around the world. HARIBO produces at 16 locations worldwide and employs more than 7,000 associates, who ensure that consumers always have the best quality gummies in a fun variety of shapes and flavors. 100 million Goldbears are made around the world every day.