Gummi bears are small, jelly-textured, translucent candies that are sold in bulk and in packages. They were invented by German candy company owner Hans Riegel, who started his business, Haribo, in a production plant in Germany in the 1920s. In 1922, Riegel created a bear-shaped candy made out of fruit gum that he called The Dancing Bear. This product became popular and was later known as the Haribo Gold-Bear. In the 1950s, Riegel invented the gummi bear, and today these sweet, rubber-like little candy bears are available worldwide.
In the early 1980s, gummi bears began to be manufactured by Haribo in the United States, and these candies quickly became an American favorite. The clear ones are pineapple-flavored while the red ones are berry-flavored. The candies are usually always fruit-flavored, and an orange one tastes like orange, a yellow one, like lemon, and a green one, like lime.
Gummibar or Gummibarachen means "small rubber bears" in German, and these candies typically get their rubbery texture from gelatin. Since gelatin is often made from animal bones, they are not suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Pig or cow bones are usually used for producing gelatin, so those who do not consume one or both of these animals for religious or other reasons are not likely to want to eat them either. There are several brands that are made with non-animal options, such as pectin or starch, rather than gelatin, however, so shoppers who are concerned should read the ingredients carefully.
Candy made with starch tend not to be as chewy or gummy as the gelatin types. The Jewish Museum in Berlin has vending machine that contains a kosher version. The popularity of Haribo's Gummi Bears led to many other candy manufacturers making similar gummy-textured types of candy, such as fruit and animal varieties, as well as cola bottle shapes. The Trolli company's Gummi Worms, first marketed in 1981, became a huge success. Sour gummy-textured candies are another popular variation of the original, sweet bear, and an acidic ingredient such as fumaric acid is often used to create the sour taste.