Gummi bears and other gummy candy have long been a favorite with candy lovers, but what do you really know about the history of this fine product?
The gummi bear was invented in Germany in 1922, by one Hans Riegel, a candy maker from Bonn, Germany.
Mr. Riegel called his new invention the “dancing bear”, and he also founded a company specifically to manufacture these dancing bears.
That company was known as Haribo, which was an acronym for Hans Riegel Bonn. These bears quickly become very popular throughout all of Germany.
Even though they had enjoyed enormous success in their native Germany, these delicious creations would not be sold in the United States until the 1980s.
Prior to their American debut, many high school students learned about, and sometimes sampled, these delicious “dancing bears” in their German classes, and thus became among the first Americans to know about these delicious treats.
In the year 1981, the Herman Goelitz Company, now known as Jelly Belly, began to produce the first gummi bears to be made in the U.S., and the following year Haribo realized that it had a major market waiting for it in America, and they brought their business to those waiting shores. For the first time since their invention gummi bears were easily accessible to the American public.
The decade of the 1980s also saw the creation of a new gummi creation, the gummi worm. These worms were instantly embraced by children, even if their parents found them slightly disgusting.
These gummi characters were soon followed by a veritable zoo of gummis, including gummi crocodiles, gummi centipedes, gummi bricks and even gummi fruit salad.
Even though these great candies can be eaten very quickly, the production process is actually slow and painstaking.
The process begins with the artists of the candy company, who design a character sketch which is then carved into small plaster molds.
Those molds are then duplicated using a special machine and then sent through a starch powder machine so that starch powder mold pans can be produced. These pans are then sent to the factory.
Once in the candy warehouse factory, ingredients such as gelatin, sugar and glucose syrup are poured into large boilers to be heated.
During the heating process this mixture is constantly stirred using giant paddles.
The coloring is introduced during this stirring process, and after heating the mixture is poured through pipes to transfer it to the production area in the candy factory.
At the conclusion of the pipes there are nozzles which are used to squeeze the mixture into the starch boards containing hundreds of molds.
The candy is then allowed to set for between three to five days. After the candy has settled, beeswax is then poured on to the mold to give the gummy candy its familiar sheen and to make it less sticky.
After drying and the application of beeswax the candies are moved through the packaging machine where they will be prepared for shipment.
Hello, I’m Matthew – a candy enthusiast and the founder of Sugar Stand. I created this site to share everything I learn about the world of candy – from brands, and products all the way through to recommendations and opinions. If you have a sweet tooth like me, you’ve come to the right place!