Gummy Bear Showdown: Black Forest vs. Haribo


The candy community is one of many subsets. Chocolate bar fans, fruity chew fans…that’s pretty much it actually, and there’s a whole lot of overlap.

But among gummy bear enthusiasts in particular, a debate rages: Black Forest or Haribo? More of a worm guy myself, yours truly is uniquely qualified to settle the argument. So I did.

Method: Like any serious, unbiased gummy tester, I ate these (at least) three at a time and swigged water between brands. Little something called palate cleansing, look it up.

Black Forest Gummy Bears

Two mind-bending riddles exist on this fancy packaging resembling an early level in Super Mario Land. “America’s favorite gummy,” the company boasts. “Seventy percent of consumers prefer Black Forest over the leading gummy.” It’s tough to understand how the leading gummy can be so wildly unpopular among gummy enthusiasts.

Not only that, but the gummy colors are from “natural sources.” What, then, are colors from unnatural sources? In this universe, with our human eyes, colors are colors regardless of their source.

One handful of gummies relieves the stress of these unexpected brain exercises. The bears are dense without being overbearing. The texture leaves no film on your fingertips (and palms). The flavor lingers, but not long enough to keep you from digging for the next batch.

Sadly, close inspection reveals only minimal likeness to an actual bear. Faint facial features and compressed limbs leave me wanting a more authentic miniature bear-eating experience. Could be Black Forest’s downfall.

Haribo Gold-Bears

If Black Forest draws you in with promises of fanciful adventures, Haribo stands out with an all-business approach. They’ve been cranking out gummies since 1922. Gushy confections are what they do.

Haribo’s heavy gold packaging that be confused with a travel cigar case — a product worthy of high-end country clubs. Their creepy tagline sounds like straight World War II propaganda: Kids and grown-ups love it so, the happy world of Haribo.

Without question, these gummies are tough. My weak ass teeth barely pierced the bears’ exteriors. Of course, a chewier candy lends itself to longer-lasting flavor. The trade-off is a risky swallowing experience.

The standout feature is Haribo’s admirable consistency when it comes to creating realistic bear likenesses. Detailed facial features, extended limbs, even hair swaths across the belly. The difference between the two brands is so pronounced in this area, one wonders if Black Forest bought Haribo’s old, worn-out cast in the early days of their business.

The Verdict

After twenty minutes and two bags, a clear winner emerged: Black Forest.

The flavor difference is negligible, so it comes down to softness. Switching from Black Forest to Haribo was like switching out a basketball for a medicine ball at halftime. Black Forest bears nearly melt in your mouth by comparison.

Of course, if we’re relaxing watching Ghostbusters II and you break out a six pound bag of Haribos, I’m not just going to sit there. |ES|

Images courtesy of AmazonWalmart, and Haribo