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.
Strawberry (light red)
Raspberry (darker red)
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.
Spotted some German-made sour s’ghetti in the state
Bethany Bravington says
Not created equal. Most products here in the UK are made with different ingredients than the same product in America.
I found this post searching for a place to buy the German version of the Haribo Gold-Bears.
In the good ole USA, corn is a subsidized crop and as such we have a massive overages of corn on the market. It is considerably cheaper to use corn syrup over sugar in the USA. The end result is a massive number of products are made from both. This is one of the biggest reasons why consumers shop for Coca Cola from the Mexican markets over the American version of the same drink. I would be willing to bet the either Turkey has a similar policy on corn syrup or in order to sell food products in the USA, they are required to use it or pay huge tariffs.
I have traveled the world extensively and tried many products that had American versions as well. In every case where corn syrup was used instead of sugar, I experienced a sugar buzz and heart burn at some point shortly after consuming them.
We have discussed in great length with many others who have observed the same.
At my age, I am concerned with developing insulin resistance, and I regularly monitor my blood glucose.
I can say with scientific accuracy that consuming corn syrup in any large volume (say half a bag of gummies), makes my body switch into insulin production overdrive to deal with the corn syrup. The end result is two to three hours later I actually develop low glucose levels. This indicates that my body is so sensitive to corn syrup that it over produces insulin and I run out of glucose to to deal with it as it has been pushed to my urine and my sugar drop below normal levels.
The same case can not be said of the same brand of gummies made from sugar.
You can try this yourself with a simple Coke. Get a couple from the American market and couple from the Mexican market made from sugar instead and slam 1-2 down after lunch one day and repeat the test the next on the other version a different day.
If you have glucose meter, test your glucose an hour after and once again 2-3 hours after and observe the differences of both. If you do not have a meter, just take notes on how you feel once every hour from lunch until 3 hours later. 95% of people I know who try this test can tell a massive difference and give up corn syrup where possible.
The corn syrup version of the gummies taste different and are not the true intended version. I grew up in Germany and could walk in the factory and by 5 kilo boxes. Every Christmas, the most requested gift to send back the USA was Haribo Gold Bears made in Germany!
As a child I was never pushed away from sugar, and never had a problem with it in various food and drink. In the USA, I constantly get sick from slipping up and drinking a coke or eating candy made from corn syrup. Since I travel all the time, I forget how bad the food can really be in the USA. It might taste great, but it sending everyone consuming corn syrup to the doctor to be treated for Diabetes.
Claudia Creel says
Hi Pops! I've run into the exact same issues & as my Mutti is German & we grew up there, I've been searching all over as well! I hope you find them! Still looking myself! I guess I could always ask my family to send them over. It's just so expensive to ship things. Maybe when I go for my visit...
It sounds so familiar...my husband once told me about this new guy at work that seemed to eat only gummy bears...he gave him a nickname: Gummy Bear, or just Gummy for short! ;)
Tina, I love this blog! And I love seeing photos of you guys now, wish we could cross paths someday soon!
Tina Jui says
Come visit us in London! You're welcome to come any time!
No, they are not created equal. Viva la Spanish Gold Bears!!