Haribo’s bear-shaped box of gummy bears and the signature Goldbären (Goldbears)

The 2013 IAADFS Duty Free Show of the Americas welcomed a new, exciting exhibitor to this year’s show. By all accounts, German sugar confectionery brand Haribo GmbH & Co, best known for its “gummy bears”, delighted visitors with its first ever travel retail show presence.

“What took you so long?” was the general reaction among the buyers in this dynamic product category, according to Head of Travel Retail Manuel Coronilla.

Speaking to The Moodie Report from his small but packed-with-product exhibition booth in Orlando, Coronilla explained that although the Haribo candy brand has been sold in travel retail for many years, it was “not a strong focus” for the over 90-year-old, privately-held confectionery giant, whose annual turnover totals some €2 billion.

The family-owned company is run by Dr Hans Riegel, a 90-year-old helicopter pilot – and his love of flying can be seen in two Haribo branded airplanes, operating TUIfly commercial scheduled flights across Europe. Hans Riegel owns 50% of the company, still runs it and is in charge of marketing. The remaining 50% is owned by his late brother Paul’s heirs. Paul’s son Hans Guido Riegel heads production and technical questions. Two other sons of Paul, Hans Juergen Riegel and Hans Arndt Riegel, also sit on the supervisory board.

Haribo (named after the first few letters of the founder, Hans Riegel of Bonn) specialises in fruit gum products made with natural colours and fruit and plant extracts. It has 16 factories, some 6,000 employees and now exports to more than 100 countries, having started exporting its products relatively soon after its establishment in 1922. The many product flavours span cola, berries, liquorice and tropical fruits.

“Haribo products have been sold in travel retail for many years, but it has not been a strong focus for the company,” explained Coronilla. “We’re listed by airport retailers in some European countries, Scandinavian ferries, in some Asian airports – including Hong Kong International and Bangkok Suvarnabhumi – but we never pushed the brand.”

Coronilla continued: “Last year, in September 2012, we set up a separate business unit for travel retail. Now I’m trying to expand the business. Our focus will be on global expansion of our brand Haribo in travel retail. Although Haribo is a top brand in UK, for example, we are hardly seen at London Heathrow Airport. My job is to open doors, and people [buyers] are saying: “˜Why didn’t you come to us earlier?'”

Haribo sees potential in travel retail for gifting, snacking, sharing and self-consumption options for both children and adults, in line with the company motto: “Kids and grown-ups love it so, the happy world of Haribo!”

Coronilla observed: “We have opportunities in all these areas – there are many reasons to buy [Haribo products].”

He acknowledged travel retail’s traditional focus on chocolate items, and hopes to bring about a stronger presence for sugar candy in the channel.

Haribo’s Candy Store product; the trolley is filled with individually packed candies

Travel retail exclusive products

Travel retail exclusive products are also under development. New travel-themed items include a brightly coloured children’s trolley containing 250g Goldbären [Goldbear] Minis and a Haribo branded lanyard keychain. “The sweets inside the minibags are individually wrapped for portion control,” noted Coronilla.

Travel retail exclusive 500g value pouch bags are also available. From May 2013, Haribo will launch destination-themed 500g bags which can be customised for different countries. “Happy Germany” is the name of the product for the German market. Also on a travel theme is the Air-Parade 500g pack, containing small airplane gummies, which are already available.

Among the other new items is a 750g Maxi Bag of fun-size, individually wrapped candy bags (in Goldbären, Starmix and Happy Cola flavours) called Mega Family Fun, to attract the travelling family. Also available are 250g fun-size bags of Goldbären Minis, Happy Cola Minis and Starmix Minis.

For gifting, the company offers a range of brightly coloured gift boxes, including a 450g box of Goldbären teddy bear-shaped candies, in reusable bear-shaped, transparent plastic packaging, and a 500g Selection Gift Box. In addition, there is a small metal suitcase for children, designed to be reused as a lunch box, containing travel-themed Haribo postcards and 250g Goldbären Minis.

Haribo is still working on a range of seasonal items for travel retail, according to Coronilla, such as Easter Chirping Chicks and Leaping Lambs. In this pack format, children open a door on the box to discover small bags of gummy chicks and lambs.

A new item is Twist N Stick, a Rubik’s Cube-style game format, where children can twist two cubes that contain stickers and Jelly Bunnies.

Coronilla is working on new merchandising fixtures for travel retail operators, which will be exhibited at the TFWA Asia Pacific show in May 2013. Watch this space for further details.

For details, contact Manuel Coronilla on tel: +49 228 537 606 or e-mail manuel.coronilla@haribo.com

Haribo Selection box; the children’s metal suitcase can be reused as a lunch box