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Company reacts to coronavirus pandemic: Haribo cancels chestnuts for sweets exchange

Company reacts to coronavirus pandemic : Haribo cancels chestnuts for sweets exchange

The annual event where people can exchange chestnuts and acorns for gummy bears at Haribo has been cancelled for this year. Social distancing and hygiene regulations made it impossible. The company based in Grafschaft said it would have to forgo the popular event this year.

There will be no Haribo chestnut exchange this year. As the management of the confectionery group confirmed to the General-Anzeiger newspaper, it would not be able to guarantee compliance with the corona hygiene and social distancing regulations on the company premises and at the entrances. "Health comes first", said company spokeswoman Saskia Dehnert.

Still, the gummy bear producer does not want to do without the exchange altogether. A smaller version is planned, which will probably take place at the end of October. In that scenario, groups and associations would be able to participate in the exchange, but not individuals. No specific information was given as to what groups these would be. The Haribo headquarters said it wanted to give more details at the beginning of next week.

The chestnut exchange is a tradition that Haribo has been sponsoring for more than 80 years - to the delight of children and many adults who love to nibble on the sweets. One kilo of wine gums or other sweets are exchanged for either ten kilos of chestnuts or five kilos of acorns. In 2018, around 20,000 people from all parts of Germany came to Grafschaft on both exchange days. At times there were queues of up to 700 meters long, with waiting times of more than four hours.

The chestnuts and acorns are for animal parks

Last year, the number of visitors was lower because there were fewer chestnuts. Nevertheless: 40 tons of chestnuts and 35 tons of acorns were exchanged for gummy bears and black licorice.

Chestnut and acorn collectors came from the entire region and beyond. They came to Haribo at the Grafschaft Innovation Park with garbage cans, wagons, laundry baskets, backpacks, bags and buckets filled with chestnuts and acorns. Haribo used to be located in Bonn but relocated its headquarters to Grafschaft in 2018.

When it began in 1936, the Haribo chestnut exchange was intended for children but has long since become a magnet for young and old alike, especially since the company also provides entertainment for visitors every year at the event.

Haribo donates the chestnuts and acorns to animal and game parks for feeding during the winter season. Originally, founder Hans Riegel Sr. came up with the event as a fun little event for children in the neighborhood. Since then, it has become an annual highlight that traditionally takes place at the company's headquarters.

(Orig. text: Victor Francke / Translation: Carol Kloeppel)