Haribo turns to sour and combo-flavor packs in US push for gummy dominance

Sponsored by the National Confectioners Association (NCA), the annual gathering of the world’s largest candy manufacturers exemplified the gummy category’s current power: Ferrara’s new Trolli ‘Crunchy Crawler’ – a gummy worm coated in a candy shell – took home ‘best in show’ at the NCA’s innovation awards​​.

But it was the Haribo bear that unleashed gummy mania on the US in 1982, when founder Hans Riegel introduced his Dancing Bear gummy across the pond.

At the time, current Haribo COO Rick LaBerge told ConfectioneryNews, “the texture of the gummy was just boring to the US palate.”People were confused. “They actually had to say: what is a gummy?”


The company has doubled down on the US market in 2015 and started “innovating in a meaningful way,”said LaBerge.

The non-chocolate category is growing, and gummies are driving that growth, he added, as historically non-confectionery shoppers begin buying into the market.

According to FONA International, sales of non-chocolate confections neared $8bn in 2017, with chewy leading the charge with 32% growth over five years. Taken together, gummies and chewy candy are expected to hit $5bn by 2022. The category benefits from a ‘propensity for variety, innovation, and new experiences.’

gummi expansion

Haribo has responded to this demand by launching a sour line called Z!NG (read as ‘zing’), which includes long, dusted strands it calls ‘streamers.’ Their ‘playful’ nature, said LaBerge, encourages consumers to try one flavor at a time – each one is a different color and flavor – and eat them by twisting, rolling or pulling.


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