Back left
Back right

The History of the Gummy Bear

Mar 23, 2016

Gummy bears...yum! Whether you like the original, the real fruit, the red, or the green, we've pretty much all enjoyed a gummy bear or gummy candy at some point or another. Let's learn a little bit about where they come from!

They're so cute!They're so cute!Courtesy of playbuzz.com


  • Hans Riegel, of Bonn, Germany is credited with the invention of gummy candy. In the 1920s, he and his wife started a confectionery company, originally selling hard candies at street fairs. He combined the first letters of his first and last names, as well as the first letters of his home city, to name his company Haribo. 
  • In 1922, Riegel, inspired by the popular dancing bears featured in German festivals at the time, created the fruit flavored gummy candies that we know as gummy bears. They were an instant hit! 
  • In creating gummy bears, Riegel was actually improving upon a gelatin recipe that had been around for centuries. In fact, modern gummies descend from Turkish delight and Japanese rice candy, those these were typically made with corn starch rather than gelatin. 
  • Gelatin-based candies did exist before gummy bears, though, as wine gums and jujubes were already for sale in Britain. Why did gummy bears overshadow these candies? Maybe cause they're just so darn good!

These days, Haribo makes a lot more than just gummy bears. These days, Haribo makes a lot more than just gummy bears. Courtesy of express.co.uk

Types of Gummies

  • As gummy candies increased in popularity throughout the mid-20th century, particularly in the United States, more and more variations started popping up. 
  • Nowadays, we enjoy a huge variety of gummy candy! Nearly every corner store sells candy, from gummy worms to fuzzy peaches to gummy cola bottles. Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Riegel! 
  • You might not be aware of this, but gelatin is actually made from animal by-products. Thus, vegetarians are likely to avoid gummy candy, and in some cases eating gummies can go against a person's religion. That's why you're now able to purchase organic and alternately made gummy candy that may not contain the typical gelatin. 

There are more kinds of gummies than you could try in a day!There are more kinds of gummies than you could try in a day!Courtesy of influenster.com

Fun Facts

  • The first gummy bears were taller and slimmer than those we eat today, and more closely resembled a real bear. In 1960, Haribo started making the candies shorter, fatter, and cuter so that they would be even more appealing to children. 
  • Among candy connoisseurs, there has long been competition between American and German companies as to who makes the very best gummy bear. Try both to see what you prefer!
  • Gummy bears are culturally iconic! They have been featured in movies, songs, and television shows.
  • Haribo is still a family-run business, even after being in operation for almost a century! 

Turkish delight is a tasty predecessor to gummy candies.Turkish delight is a tasty predecessor to gummy candies.Courtesy of cookdiary.net

Gummy candies are great, but keep in mind that, even if they say they are made with real fruit, they're not exactly healthy. Make sure you get some real fruits and vegetables in you before indulging in candy!

Have Your Say!

What's your favorite kind of gummy candy? Let our Kidzworld readers know in the comments section!