Have Haribo's Gummy Bears Lost Their Bite?
Crosscuts: Culinary Habits x Consumer Packaged Goods
Culture Cut: American consumers have had an insatiable craving for Gummi Bears since their introduction in the early '80s, by German confectionery Haribo GmbH who has been producing gelatin-based sweets since 1920.
The Gummi/Gummy Bear, a dancing bear molded from fruit gum, is iconic like M&M's or Swedish Fish or Legos, and has inspired a million different variant innovations in size, animal, shape, color, flavor, consistency, mouth feel, and benefit.
Commerce Cut: Haribo's 2008 sales were $716M; it's chief competitors are Jelly Belly, and the global masterbrands Kraft (KFT) and Mars each with unique growth strategies based on their corporate initiatives - Kraft acquired Cadbury and Mars acquired Wrigley.
Haribo's brand portfolio and products are in different life stages and in different parts of the world, but the Gummy Bear is the portfolio driver and cash 'bear' if you will. It has 60% of the licorice and gummy market; 25% market share in the UK across several brands.
Crosscutting: Haribo brand managers should be thinking more Yogi Bear than Winnie the Pooh. The Gummi Bear is tied to a dated slogan" 'Kids and grown-ups love it so.' And when any chewy animal candy can be considered or even referred to as a "gummy bear" like loosely saying 'Xerox' or 'Kleenex,' you're in trouble. Look at what Chupa Chups did for world flavors, lollipops, and fashion accessories. Follow that model.
Brand Opportunity: Bulk candy sales have been the death of the Haribo Gummy Bear. Save the Bears is an idea. Realize the Inter-generational community of consumers who eat bears and Pez. Define the Hairbo Gummy Bear brand experience, again. Become more relevant as a form of eating versus a candy.
Market Risk: Haribo is too soft in its advertising and messaging. It appears that the brand doesn't realize its own power or is afraid of it. The brand communication feels like '80s Saturday morning programming; I would think young adults who need to focus and want a candy and/or gum with strong mouthfeel, are the target consideration or growth opportunity.
Haribo must solve for the lack of control and consistency between bulk/open retail formats and consumer packaged goods in specialty retail.