Haribo Gummi Bears Moving To Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, And Other Candy Facts

Well, it only took 96 years, but the gummi bear giant company Haribo is opening its first North American manufacturing plant in the appropriately named town of Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, reports Biz Journals. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker announced that the German-based candy company is planning to build a $242 million, 500,000-square-foot facility to the area bringing in about 400 new jobs. However, don’t send in your resumes just yet. The plant isn’t expected to be completed until 2020.

Haribo comes to Wisconsin
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker announcing Haribo will be building its first North American manufacturing plant in Wisconsin. [Image by Scott Bauer/AP Images]

Haribo manufactures “Gold-Bears” gummi bears along with an assortment of other treats, but how much do you really know about the candy company?

According to the Haribo website, Johannes “Hans” Riegel and his wife Gertrud set up shop in their small backyard laundry/kitchen in 1920 with a bag of sugar, a marble rock, a stool, a brick oven, a copper kettle, and a roller. The name Haribo is basically an acronym of his name (HA for Hans, RI for Riegel) and the name of the city he was born, Bonn (BO for Bonn). Hans created the Tanzbar (aka “dancing bear”) in 1922. Though the Haribo company prefers the spelling of “gummi” for their products, the term “gummy” is also acceptable.

Today, Haribo is led by Johannes Peter Riegel Jr. The company employs about 7,000 people worldwide at 16 different sites and 10 countries including the United States. “Haribo of America is the fastest-growing candy maker in the U.S.,” Riegel said in an emailed statement, reports MSN. “That is why the step to start with local production from 2020 is important to us.”

The making of Haribo gummi bears is similar and yet different from traditional candy making. While a mold of a bear shape is used in the process, it is used differently than what you would expect. Boxes filled with corn starch are sent down an assembly line and are “punched” with rows of bear-shaped molds. The bear-shaped “holes” imprinted in the corn starch is then filled with a hot liquid gummi mixture. After a long drying time, the now-formed bears are tossed with a mixture of beeswax and carnauba wax to shine them up and keep them from sticking together.

Haribo assembly line
An worker of the Haribo company in Linz, Austria. [Image by AP Images]

Unlike other candy companies, Haribo does not offer factory tours. “The production of Haribo products is subject to extremely high and internationally standardized hygiene and quality standards,” says the company website. “This means that in order to protect the entire production and filling process, it is not possible for groups of visitors to be shown through the factories.”

The traditional bag of Gold-Bears flavors are pineapple (white), strawberry (green), lemon (yellow), orange (orange), and raspberry (red). The treats are made from glucose syrup, sugar, gelatin, starch, fruit concentrates, flavorings, and citric acid. The type of gelatin used in the treats depends on where the bears were produced. The Haribo plant in Turkey only uses beef-derived gelatin while the Germany plant uses pork-derived gelatin.

Haribo Candy Facts by the Numbers:

  • 99,610: The number of miles if all the gummi bears made in one year were laid head to toe.
  • 239,227: The number of miles if all the Licorice Wheels made in one year were unrolled and tied together.
  • 100,000,000: The number of Gold-Bears produced every day around the world.


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In America, Haribo offers the traditional Gold-Bears, Sour Gold-Bears, Happy Cola Bottles, Happy Cherries, sugar-coated Peaches, Sour gummi strings called “Sghetti,” Berries, Blue Smurf-shaped candies, green frog-shaped Frogs, Licorice Wheels, and Rattle-Snakes, which look a lot like a competitor’s gummy worms.

[Featured Image by AP Images]