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Haribo’s little bear cubs celebrate their 100th birthday

The German confectionery giant celebrates the 100th anniversary of its “Golden Bears”, born in 1922. Today it is the first brand of the group.

Little cubs now centenarians. Haribo celebrates the centenary of its famous “Golden Bear” candies, gold bars in the original German version, born in 1922. A product that is inextricably linked to the Haribo brand: no fewer than 160 million bears leave the production lines of the German confectionery giant every day. Today it is by far the group’s first reference on a global level, for which it represents almost a third of the turnover.

These gummy bears are almost as old as the company itself. Hans Riegel, who founded Haribo in 1920, needed a star product. Contrary to the customs of the time, he decides to shape his candy: he chooses the bear and names it Tanzbar, “dancing bear”, inspired by these shows that were popular in Germany until the early 20th century. the Tanzbarmade with gum arabic and not with gelatin like today, got its colors and aromas the same year.

A bag of Goldbären sold in Germany in 1961.
A bag of Goldbären sold in Germany in 1961. © Haribo

Sold individually, it enjoyed remarkable success in a country ravaged by inflation. After the war, when Hans Riegel’s sons took over the company, he experienced a second youth. It was in the 1960s that the candy as we know it today was really made. The sachet replaces the can to adapt to new consumer habits. the Tanzbar will be renamed gold bars† Now mass-produced, it leaves its native land to be exported all over Europe

60s makeover

Above all, it is a complete makeover: the bear becomes smaller, rounder, more colorful. “He’s a marketing genius,” assures Jean-Philippe André, President of Haribo France, for whom the bear “led the group’s development”. The recipe has changed little since then, but it adapts to the customer: the dimensions do not change (10 millimeters wide by 23 millimeters high for exactly 2.3 grams) but the taste, color or texture can differ from country to country.

“The texture of the candy is firmer in Germany and smoother in France, Italy or Spain, in the same packaging,” explains Jean-Philippe André, who points out that in some cases there are only five different flavors, instead of six. Nations.

Haribo is counting on the anniversary of its flagship product to put it back in the spotlight. In addition to a new advertising campaign on television, a limited edition of fruit juices should soon reach French supermarkets to experience the wave of naturalness, as other confectionery brands do. “It’s a life-size test on this product to observe customer reaction in stores,” notes Jean-Philippe André.

Tagada, Smurfs and Dragibus

Because unlike other countries such as the United States, where teddy bears represent 80% of group sales, in France competition is fierce within the Haribo portfolio itself, which represents 43% by value of the tricolor confectionery market. The French prefer Tagada, Smurfs, Dragibus and other crocodiles: for every kilogram gold bears sold, Haribo sells about five kilos of Dragibus. There is still room for the cubs.

Jeremy Bruno BFMTV journalist

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