Back in 1922, German candy maker Hans Riegel invented a squishy, sweet, translucent treat for his company, Haribo. Haribo called the gummy bears Goldbears and packaged them in a gold bag. Riegel was not the first to make a sweet chewy candy, but he was the first to use a mold more complex than basic geometric shapes. Then in the 1980s, candy companies started making gummy bears in the U.S. and creating shapes beyond the bear.
Now gummy candies come in a variety of forms, colors, and flavors—from squiggly worms to realistic-looking sushi. Even bears come in many types and flavors. Some come “sanded” with sour sugar, others are covered in crunchy, multicolored sprinkles. Each candy maker puts a different spin on the classic sweets. For example, Ruby Bond, a candy company in Atlanta, Georgia, sells trays of gummies arranged in colorful patterns.
To celebrate the bears’ 100th anniversary, Haribo released bags of Goldbears with blue-raspberry party hats added to the standard mix of red (raspberry), orange (orange), yellow (lemon), clear (pineapple), and green (strawberry) bears.
Why have gummy bears lasted so long? “I think they’re simple. They’re cute. They’re delicious. They’re chewy. People love good texture,” says Ruby Bond CEO Elizabeth Schmitt. “It’s classic nostalgia. I just think it’s something that reminds you of a certain time. How can you dislike a gummy bear?”