The new production facility is expected to add 400 jobs to the Kenosha County economy.
If you’re a glutton for gummies, consider Kenosha County, Wisconsin your new Graceland as HARIBO has announced plans to open a new candy factory in southeastern Wisconsin. The German-based company’s stateside outpost, HARIBO of America Inc., is set to build a new production facility with actual gummy production stated to begin in 2020. According to the company, the factory would bring about 400 jobs to the area.
"HARIBO has already been in the process of selecting a location for a first manufacturing facility in the USA for several years. In an elaborate process, we have examined many different sites. We are very excited to announce this important decision today," Rick LaBerge, Executive Vice President and COO said in a release from the company. We hope by “elaborate” he’s referring to some kind of Willy Wonka-esque scheme to weed out naughty locations and only reward the good-natured one its own candy factory. Consider yourself the Charlie Bucket of counties, Kenosha.
The original HARIBO confectioners was founded in Bonn, Germany in 1920 by Johannes “Hans” Riegel, Sr. The company’s name is an abbreviation using the first two letters of the founder’s name and the company’s hometown. In 1922, inspired by a circus, Riegel invented the first gummy bears, or gummibärchen, modeled after dancing bears (in case you were wondering why gummy bears are always upright). These were the larger format bears you might see in some bulk candy bins, but by far the company’s most popular product came about 40 years later with the introduction of the more miniature Gold Bears variety, which are the standard for HARIBO (and its competitors) today.
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The Kenosha factory would be HARIBO’s sixteenth, but the first in the American market which the company first started exporting to in the 1980s. Since it’s humble ursine beginnings, the gummy division has produced many childhood (and adulthood) shapes, colors and flavors with their own ardent followings. Everything from peaches to cola bottles to fried eggs and frogs are favorites of sweet-toothed candy fans worldwide. The gummy-obsessed take their treats very seriously, using them to make artistic sculptures, like this Darth Vader helmet, a whole roasted chicken, and even a knitted scarf. Farmers have also admitted to using the candies as cattle feed. And why not? Who doesn’t love the chewy little guys?