Mar 3, 2017

Haribo, the family-owned German confectionery company responsible for the smiles of children around the world, announced this month that they will be opening their first U.S. factory in the state of Wisconsin.

The company, which was founded in 1920 by the creator of gummy bears Johannes Riegel, headquarters its operations out of Bonn, Germany. They have expanded since the 1960s to employ 7,000 workers in ten countries and to operate 15 additional factories producing 100 million gummy bears daily. Soon enough, the number of factories will increase to 16 with its new Wisconsin addition.

Producing the much-loved golden bears domestically speaks to the growing popularity of these squishy German candies among Americans. Haribo products range from their classic gold bears to culturally inspired and limited time products like Smurf gummies. The bulk gold bears account for slightly over 12 percent of the company’s sales, with the mini-bags accounting for an additional 11 percent. With bears making up a quarter of Haribo’s overall sales, it makes sense why those are the company’s most recognizable product. In the company’s full list of top selling products, bulk and mini bears are followed closely by their red licorice wheels, peaches, and raspberries.

Further Steps Into the US Candy Market

Gummy bears

Haribo is no stranger to selling within the United States but will naturally face competition from well-established U.S. confectioners. In 2016, Hershey and Mars made up a whopping 60 percent of the U.S. confectionary market. Haribo remains unintimidated by those numbers. It is the fastest growing candymaker in the United States and the newly built manufacturing facility is a sign that they plan on staying that way.

The $242 million candymaking plant will be built in Pleasant Prarie, in an area of Wisconsin called Kenosha County. Employing up to 400 people, the plant is estimated to be 500,000 square feet and will be one of the largest candy manufacturing sites in the U.S. "This is a sweet day for Kenosha County," said County Executive Jim Kreuser in response to Haribo's arrival in Pleasant Prarie.

Operations of the confectionary will begin in 2020.


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The History of Gummy Bears

Gummy bears

In the first edition of our "German Cuisine" series, we look at the history of gummy bears, which originated in Germany less than 100 years ago. From the kitchen of a German man named Hans Riegel to grocery stores around the world, these colorful chewy candies quickly became a beloved staple across the globe.

Gummy Bears

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