17 things you didn't know about Haribo
Ah, Haribo... they’ve been the scourge of dentists everywhere for close to a century now, because everybody knows that their glorious gummies are delicious, but here are 17 things you probably didn’t know:
1. They’re not called gummy bears
Kind of a big one, but they’re actually called Gold-Bears -- and they’re not actually gold, they come in five different colors. As it turns out, “gummibar” in German means “rubber bear”, and after 1967 they decided to rename them something slightly more appetizing.
2. It’s been run by a Hans Riegel for almost a century
That is, it was founded by Hans Riegel Sr. in the '20s, and passed down to Hans Riegel Jr. after WWII. He stayed the (very active) head of the company until his death late last year at 90 years old.
3. They taste different in the US
In the USA, not only do Gold-Bears actually have one fewer flavor than in Europe (it’s apple, btw; American green ones are strawberry flavor), but they’re made by a different recipe so that the European variety has slightly more natural favorings.
4. They accept acorns as currency
Riegel Sr. started a tradition in the ‘30s whereby children could swap acorns (used to feed animals at a local wildlife sanctuary) for Gold-Bears at the factory every year in late October, and the tradition persists today.
5. The slogans & commercials were all written by Riegel
Riegel Jr. notoriously didn’t believe in ad agencies, and wrote the slogans (“Kids and grown-ups love it so -- the happy world of Haribo”) and TV commercials himself. Nice!
6. They have a vegetarian version
Yes, thanks to the delicious, porky gelatin, Haribo technically isn’t vegetarian. But they do make a gelatin-free Gold-Bear especially for the veggie/Muslim market.
7. They named one of their gummy bears after Roosevelt
In the ‘30s, they produced a line of “Teddy Bear” gummies named for Roosevelt, presumably because of his habit of eating actual bears.
8. Reigel Sr. dipped his pen in the company ink
He married his first employee, Gertrud. At first, she delivered gummy bears by bicycle to stores, and then later she delivered the company’s next CEO, her son Hans Jr.
9. They’ll soon clean your teeth
The hardworking scientists at Haribo are currently developing a gummy loaded with tooth-protective xylitol, meaning it’ll actually be good for you (AND it’ll have vitamins in it). Is there nothing they can’t do?!
10. One of their candies was literally “an ass with ears”
And you can still buy ‘em on Amazon!
11. They all frowned until recently
Originally, all Gold-Bears had a frown (presumably because they knew what was coming), and it wasn’t until 2007 that Haribo slapped a smile on their faces.
12. The sugar-free gummies might kill you
Due to the inclusion of sugar substitute Lycasin, consumers have suffered some (understatement alert!) intestinal discomfort. A few excerpts from the Amazon reviews shed more light:
An "Ideal Gift For Your Congressional Representatives”
“A fun little prank to play on your digestional system”
“These are satan bears”
“I sneezed out of my butthole”
“I’m pretty sure I lost a kidney”
“This is gastrointestinal armageddon”
13. The horse heart Daenerys eats in season one of Game of Thrones is (probably) made of gummy bears
The GoT Wiki states that it was made from a “ gummy bear-like material”, which quite frankly sounds a lot like gummy bears.
14. People sell gummy art...
... and it’s expensive. This piece, for instance, sold for $6.5k.
15. They make 100 million candies per day
Riegel Jr. himself used to stand at the end of the Haribo conveyor belts "quality testing" bears, licorice, and cola bottles for hours at a time.
16. They turned down Warren Buffett
It’s still a private, family-owned company, so they keep both their recipes -- and their financial information -- secret. Nonetheless, the mighty Sage of Omaha knows a good investment when he tastes it, and came knocking with a huge offer back in ’08 -- they turned him down flat. Riegel Jr. said at the time "Money was never my motivation. I don't even know when I made my first million.”
17. And finally... you can get Gummy Bear boob implants
Yep. We thought this was a joke too. But it’s all too real. FDA-approved since 2006, Gummy Bear bust-enhancers are designed with a silicone gel to have the same specific texture and feel as a a gummy bear (bouncing here and there and everywhere?). Want some? Then head to GummyBearBreastImplantsNewYork.com.