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FOOD HISTORY

The Surprisingly Dark Origins of Gummy Bears

Michele Debczak
There's a surprisingly dark story behind these sugary bears.
There's a surprisingly dark story behind these sugary bears. / Justin Sullivan/GettyImages
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Gummy bears are a staple of candy stores around the world today, but that wasn't always the case. When Haribo introduced its signature product to Germany in 1922, gelatin candies molded into whimsical shapes were unheard of. The gummy bears were an immediate hit. By modeling the candies after Europe's popular dancing bears (whose own story isn't as cute and cuddly as it seems), the company had created a candy that appealed to the German public.

From their German roots to their effect on the confections market in America, gummy bears played a large role in the evolution of candy. You can learn all about their story—from the sweet moments to the not-so-sweet ones—in the latest episode of Food History.

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