Hans Riegel, Gummy Bear Genius, Dead at 90
When you rummage through your kid's Halloween candy stash this year, take a moment to reflect on the life of one man before biting the head off your colorful squishy bear.
Hans Riegel, the marketing genius behind Haribo, the German manufacturer of the adorable edible animals, died last Tuesday, October 15, at age 90. The company's web page pays tribute to Riegel, stating:
We are mourning an exceptional business man and also an outstanding personality who will be remembered by many as a friend and supporter, a mentor and not least also an inspiring role model. His pioneering spirit led to the establishment of a company that is unique in the world, and the creation of a brand whose global profile and popularity are almost unrivalled.
We owe Dr Hans Riegel a debt of thanks, as he had the foresight to change the company's direction in time to ensure its successful future and steady growth. All of us are now called upon to continue his lifetime's work together.
Dr Hans Riegel dedicated his life to HARIBO, passionately pursuing the vision that the HARIBO brand should bring a ray of sunshine into people's everyday lives right until the end.
According to the New York Times, Haribo, the company behind the Gummies, was founded in 1920 by Riegel's father, also named Hans. The original bears were made from licorice, and the factory employed about 30 people. When the elder Riegel was killed during World War II, Hans Jr. and his brother Paul took over the reins and rebuilt the company, but it was nearly another two decades before the little candies, with the official name of Goldbears, were produced in fruit flavors and became International sensations.
It wasn't until 1982 that Gummy Bears were introduced to the United States, with the Riegel brothers setting up Haribo of America in Baltimore.
Today, the company produces about 100 million gummy bears a day. According to the Haribo website, a year's production of Gummy Bears set side by side in a row would
circle the globe four times.
Haribo has also established the Dr. Hans Riegel Foundation, with a goal to encourage, promote, and inspire talented youth in Germany, giving back to the kids who enjoy the candy so much.
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