Hans Riegel was born on April 3,1893, in Friesdorf near Bonn, Germany; the son of Peter and Agnes Riegel. After technical school, he trained as a confectioner and worked for more than five years for Kleutgen & Meier. Further stages in his career include jobs at production plants in Neuss and Osnabrück. After the end of the World War I, Heinen, a company based in the Kessenich district of Bonn, was looking for a confectioner and Hans Riegel became a partner in the business, after which the company name was changed to Heinen & Riegel.
In 1920, Hans Riegel goes his own way and becomes the sole owner of the firm. Hans Riegel acquires a house in Bergstrasse in Kessenich, where he sets up his first production plant. The starting capital consisted of a sack of sugar, a marble slab, a stool, a walled-up stove, a copper kettle, and a roller. Here at a small kitchen sink the legacy of an internationally successful enterprise was born. On December 13, 1920, Riegel entered the name HARIBO, an abbreviation of Hans Riegel Bonn, in the Bonn Commercial Registry.
Hans Riegel marries Gertrud, who becomes the first employee of the young company.
Hans Riegel laid the first foundation stone of HARIBO’s forthcoming success by inventing the “Dancing Bear”, the little figure of a bear made out of fruit gummi, which later becomes world-famous as the HARIBO Gold-Bear.
In 1923, HARIBO acquired its first automobile, complete with business placard, for making deliveries to customers. Until then, Hans’s wife and colleague Gertrud had delivered each day’s batch of sweets by bicycle.
The Riegels’ son Hans is born, followed in 1924 by their daughter Anita and in 1926 by their son Paul.
Hans Riegel begins to manufacture licorice products. The first product was the licorice stick, with the HARIBO logo stamped on it. It was followed by the Licorice Wheel, which was later to become internationally famous, and many other licorice delicacies.
By 1930, HARIBO employed 160 workers and a sales organization made up of commercial agents to ensure that all of Germany is supplied with HARIBO products.
HARIBO’s advertising slogan, which literally translates as “HARIBO makes children happy”, was created in the mid-1930s.
The main building at the present-day production facility in Bonn was constructed.
At the end of the 1920s, HARIBO had entered into its first business connection with a foreign company, establishing contact with Christian and Eckhof Hansen of “Sukkervarenfabrikker Danmark”. In 1935, together with Hans Riegel of Bonn, they founded HARIBO LAKRIDS A/S in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Just before World War II, HARIBO was a solid medium-sized business with approximately 400 employees. The years 1939-1945 found Germany with the unfortunate task of making tanks over gummy bears, and HARIBO experienced setbacks, primarily due to the shortage of raw materials. When the firm founder Hans Riegel passed away in 1945 at the age of fifty-two, Gertrud kept the company going through the immediate aftermath of the war.
The rebuilding of the company began immediately after the end of World War II. Reconstruction began with approximately 30 employees. The production plant in Bonn was largely undamaged by the war. The biggest problem in the first few years after the war was the scarcity of raw materials.
In 1946, Hans and Paul Riegel were released from POW camps and they took over running the company from their mother, dividing the work in a way that remains in place to this day: Hans Riegel oversees the commercial side of the business including marketing and sales, while his brother Paul manages the production.
The flourishing company expands; only five years after the war it has approximately 1,000 employees. Of the primary importance of the continued success and growth of this family company was the uniformly high quality standards of the products, the constant development of new and timely product ideas, and last but not least the marketing strategy developed by Dr. Hans Riegel for the entire product range. In 1957, HARIBO buys out the company of Kleutgen & Meier, where HARIBO’s founder Hans Riegel had his first job. HARIBO still sells gummies in Europe under the brand name Monarch.
In the mid-1960s, the advertising slogan “HARIBO makes children happy” has the phrase “and adults too” added to it. (The English version is “Kids and grown-ups love it so, the happy world of HARIBO”.)
HARIBO buys out the Bonera Industrie en Handelsmaatschappij N.V. in Breda, The Netherlands. The company is now called HARIBO Nederland B.V.
HARIBO advertises its products on German TV for the first time.
HARIBO acquires shares in the French confectionery factory Lorette. The company is renamed HARIBO France S.A. The company’s headquarters are in Marseilles. In 1985 HARIBO acquires the company Ricqles Zan, which is located in the South of France. At the end of 1987, this company is merged with HARIBO France to create HARIBO RICQLES ZAN. There are production sites in Marseilles, Uzès and Wattrelos (near Lille), which supply France and other southern European markets. Hans-Jürgen Riegel, the eldest son of Paul Riegel, has been chairman of the board of HARIBO Ricqles Zan since 1989.
HARIBO acquires shares in the Solingen, Germany company Dr. Hillers AG. In 1979 HARIBO acquires the remaining shares in the company. The company has been expanded in three separate phases since 1980, and now has a production plant with ultra-modern machines for producing all types of gummies, licorice products and chewing gum.
HARIBO acquires a majority share in Bären-Schmidt, a traditional German company which produces the popular German delicacies of gingerbread hearts, ‘domino’ chocolate cookies and other long-life bakery products. It also produces gummi products. The company is based in Mainbernheim in the north of Bavaria.
HARIBO acquires shares in Dunhills of Pontefract, in the north of England. The ancient English firm of Dunhills makes products including Pontefract Cakes, a regional speciality. In 1994 HARIBO acquires all the remaining shares in Dunhills.
HARIBO sets up a sales organization in Sweden, with its headquarters in Helsingborg.
HARIBO establishes a sales organization in Austria. Following the acquisition of Panuli Bonbon Ges. m.b.H. of Linz in 1988, HARIBO commences production in Austria. Panuli was a traditional company that has been in existence since 1921, producing cakes, pastries and confectionery. The company is located in Linz, Austria on the Danube River.
HARIBO crosses the pond. Its newly founded American company has its headquarters in an office block bought especially for this purpose in Baltimore, Maryland.
HARIBO acquires Stella company in Wattrelos (near Lille) in France.
HARIBO takes over Edmund Munster GmBH & CO. KG in Neuss. In 1900, Edmund Munster bought the Düsseldorf Lakritzenwerk, established in 1898. In 1930 he acquired the foreign license to produce the soft candy MAOAM and in 1982 the production facilities moved from Düsseldorf to Neuss.
In 1989, HARIBO establishes a sales organization in Norway, the headquarters of which are based in Oslo.
HARIBO becomes active in the new eastern states of unified Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall by acquiring the WESA confectionary factory. This establishment started out as a candy gingerbread and chocolate factory founded by Oswald Stengel in 1898. His son sold it to the state of Saxony in 1949, when it became the publicly owned Suwrarenfabrik WESA.
HARIBO acquires 100% of the shares in the Italian company SIDAS DOLCIARIA S.p.A. and founds HARIBO Italien S.p.A, based in the northern Italian city of Milan.
In order to create a continual and familiar presence in Germany, in 1991 HARIBO also established what is now the longest-lasting advertising partnership with a spokesperson by bringing in the famous German entertainer Thomas Gottschalk as the face for the Goldbears and many other HARIBO products.
HARIBO establishes a sales organization in Finland, with its headquarters in Helsinki.
HARIBO acquires the famous Vademecum brand of dental chewing gums and cough drops.
After having established a sales presence in Spain in 1985, ten years later HARIBO opens production facilities there.
Haribo opens the Musee du Bonbon (Candy Museum) in Uzes, France. The museum charts the history of sweets, liquorices, and fruit gums, which is of course to an extent the story of HARIBO itself.
HARIBO takes over the Belgian company Dulcia and begins to build up its marshmallow range.
HARIBO opens a new production company in Dublin, Ireland; bringing it closer to consumers there.
HARIBO’s internet site is launched.
In the middle of June, HARIBO acquires Spanish confectionery producer Geldul S.L. in Alicante, establishing a second foothold here along with its operation in northern Spain.
Since the eastern European markets are becoming ever more important, HARIBO opens a sales office in the Czech Republic, based in Brno.
The year 2000 marks the completion of a production facility in Hungary, enabling significant inroads to be made into the Eastern European markets.
HARIBO buys Dutch confectionery manufacturer Hoepman in Hoogezand in the province of Groningen. The company produces licorice and hard and soft marshmallow candies.
HARIBO acquires the Turkish fruit gum and marshmallow producer Pamir Gida Sanayi A.S, opening up new markets for HARIBO in the Middle East, Turkey, and the Muslim regions of the former Soviet Union.
HARIBO builds a sales organization in Poland.
HARIBO taps into the largest Eastern European market-Russia-by setting up a sales agency in Moscow.
HARIBO opens a sales organization in Slovakia.
HARIBO Australia Pty Ltd. Becomes the Bonn confectionery producer’s representative Down Under.
In Portugal marketing is facilitated by the establishment of a new sales organization.