We made it to London! Thank you all for the well wishes for our travels and kind words about the site. I was very excited to see all your messages when I landed. To quote one of the funnier ones, “too bad her husband doesn’t care if he’s eating prime rib or cardboard as long as he gets the nutrients in.” Well, today’s post is for my husband, Jonathan, who has been so supportive about me being experimental in the kitchen.
Everyone tells him that he is lucky that I like to cook. Really though, I think he feels lucky because I never interfere with his gummy bear eating habit. I actually find it very impressive and I have never seen anyone have such a fine palate for gummy bears. In a blind taste test, he could probably identify the country of origin of any Haribo Goldbear. And it’s true, they all do taste different. In the past year, we’ve had Haribo Goldbears from the UK, Spain, Italy, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Hong Kong. His favorites? Spain, Italy and Hong Kong.
Today, I dug a little deeper about these bears and learned quite a few interesting facts. There was a taste test between German and American bears posted last year on Serious Eats. The conclusion: the bears were considerably different in color, texture, and flavor. We’ve had the same experience in our personal eating habits of these bears from different countries and looking at the ingredients list, it’s not surprising why. The ingredients are considerably different between the German and American bears.
German (from Serious Eats): Glucose syrup; sugar; gelatin; dextrose; fruit juice from concentrate: apple, strawberry, raspberry, orange, lemon, pineapple; citric acid; fruit and plant concentrates: nettle, apple, spinach, kiwi, orange, elderberry, lemon, mango, passionfruit, blackcurrant, aronia, grape; flavorings; glazing agents: white and yellow beeswax; carnauba wax; elderberry extract; fruit extract from carob; invert sugar syrup.
American (Turkish) (from Serious Eats): Corn syrup, sugar, gelatin, dextrose, citric acid, starch, artificial and natural flavors, fractionated coconut oil, carnauba wax, beeswax coating, artificial colors: yellow 5, red 40, blue 1.
Today, I took a look at the ingredient list for the British bears, and it almost matches the ingredients from the German bears. The one difference is in the glazing agent used.
British: Glucose syrup, sugar, gelatine, dextrose, fruit juice concentrates (pineapple, apple, raspberry, strawberry, orange, lemon), citric acid, fruit and plant concentrates (nettle, apple, spinach, kiwi, elderberry, blackcurrant, aronia, grape, orange, lemon, mango, passion fruit), flavourings, glazing agents (vegetable oil, beeswax, carnauba wax), fruit extract (carob), invert sugar syrup.
The flavors in the British bears and the German bears are also the same, but the American bears did not have an apple flavor. Surprisingly, in the US, the green color is used for strawberry flavor.
It turns out that Haribo has several factories in several countries and each of the above types is made in a different country. The German ones are made in Germany. The American ones are made in Turkey. While the UK has a factory, the bag I bought was manufactured in Ireland. I’m not sure why that is, and I think I’ll keep looking around the UK to see if I can find a “made in UK” bag.
There are a few explanations on why the bears vary across countries. Two stuck out to me as being plausible, though I haven’t confirmed this with any Haribo spokesperson. First, each country has different regulations on what can be used in food products. This may explain why different ingredients are used. Second, each region has different preferences in the taste and the look of food. Germans supposedly prefer a more natural color and taste. Americans prefer bright colors in food. Maybe this is true — I do like the bright red color of a Flamin’ Hot Cheeto!
A few other thoughts to leave you with:
- The name Haribo comes from the first two letters of the given name and surname of the company’s founder, Hans Riegel, and the town he lived in, Bonn. HA-RI-BO
- In December of last year, a court ruled that Lidnt Chocolate could not sell chocolate bears wrapped in gold foil under the name “Teddy” because it consumers would likely confuse it with Haribo Goldbears. Really???
- If all the Goldbears produced in a year were laid head to toe they would go around the earth 4 times.