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Man Who Made Gummi Bears Famous Dead at 90

Hans Riegel of Germany took dad's concoction to new heights
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 16, 2013 4:37 PM CDT
Man Who Made Gummi Bears Famous Dead at 90
A 2009 photo of Hans Riegel, the longtime boss of German candy maker Haribo.   (AP Photo/dpa, Rolf Vennenbernd)

(Newser) – He was the world's first and surely last "gummi bear magnate," as the headline in Der Spiegel puts it. Hans Riegel, who ran Germany's Haribo candy company and made the chewy little bears a worldwide phenomenon, has died at age 90. The bears were a concoction of his father, the founder of Haribo, but it was the younger Riegel whose deft marketing turned them into a global hit. (Gummi trivia: The jellied bears were originally made of licorice, notes the New York Times.)

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Riegel and his brother first sold them as "gold bears" in 1960s before changing the name. They introduced them throughout Europe in the 1970s and then set up Haribo of America in Baltimore in the early 1980s. It all paid off: Forbes says the company's revenues are north of $3 billion today. "I just wanted to make something of my father's life work," Riegel once said. (Read more Hans Riegel stories.)

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