Gummy Candy


Gummy bears in glass bowl isolated on white background

The gummi bear is a German creation. Hans Riegel, a candy maker from Bonn, Germany, invented the gummi bear in 1922. Initially, he called his invention the “dancing bear” and named the company that manufactured the bears “Haribo,” an acronym for Hans Riegel Bonn. The confection became popular by the end of its first year.

For many years, gummi bears were imported to America. American high school students were among the first Americans to know about the gummi bear. They learned about the candy through their German classes. In 1981, the Herman Goelitz Company (now Jelly Belly Candy Company) created the first American-made gummi bear. A year later, the Haribo Company brought their business to the U.S., and the candy was now easily accessible to Americans.

The 1980s also gave birth to a new gummi character. In 1981, Trolli came out with the gummi worm. The original concept of the gummi worm was to create a candy for children that their parents might find mildly shocking. Since then, the gummi worm has become less shocking and one of the most popular gummi characters. Many characters followed the gummi worm and gummi candies now are available in all shapes and sizes.

In 1985, Disney created a cartoon show, “The Adventures of the Gummi Bears,” based on the popular German confection. It was an adventure cartoon for children that lasted 65 episodes. The show followed a family of gummi bears on many wacky journeys.

Today, gummi bears and other gummi candies are great confections enjoyed year round.

How is gummi candy, like gummi bears, made?

Did you ever wonder how confectioners make those tiny characters? The gummi manufacturing process is a long procedure that begins with artists for the manufacturer’s company.

Artists start with a character sketch and then carve it into tiny plaster molds. Then machines duplicate the mold and the duplicates are run through a starch powder machine to produce starch powder mold pans.

In the factory, candy makers pour ingredients into large boilers. Some of the ingredients include gelatin, sugar and glucose syrup. The ingredients are heated together and constantly stirred by large paddles. Colors and flavorings are added to give the gummi snacks their distinct look and taste. Next, pipes transfer the mixture to the production area.

Nozzles are used to squeeze the mix on to the starch boards where it is left for three to five days. Afterward, beeswax is added to make the candy shiny and less sticky. The gummi candies are finally moved to a packaging machine and are ready to ship.

Fun facts about gummi candy: 

  • Gummi bears are the only type of candy to be turned into a television show.
  • Gummi bears were originally called “dancing bears.”
  • Today, gummi candy is available in a variety of shapes—spiders, watches, hamburgers, pizza, bugs, feet and more. However, bears and worms still are the most popular.
  • Red is the most popular color of gummi candy.