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It’s National Gummi Worm Day, July 15, and grown-ups still want more yummy gummi flavors, more colorful styles, and more silly sizes. Adults, not kids, have made gummi worms one of the most popular candies on earth. The name ‘gummi’ is the German word for ‘rubber,’ so you can get a satisfying stretch out of the squiggly candy before you pop it in your mouth or just bite its head off.
History of National Gummi Worm Day
We can trace National Gummi Worm Day to the marketing minds at Trolli, the German confectionery candy that created them in 1981— on July 15, according to some sources. They were a cheeky response to the reigning gummi candi, the popular gummi bear, which originated in1920 in Bonn when Hans Riegel began making candy in his kitchen.
Riegel’s company, HARIBO, produced soft, fruity gelatin dancing bears that evoked entertainment at European circuses and festivals. The bears became worldwide favorites. Trolli wanted to give kids something that had a gross-out factor they could play up with their parents, so they created gummi worms. Gummi historians don’t agree on this, but some claim that Trolli introduced the gummi worms on the anniversary of the birth of the bears in Bonn — July 15.
After the bears became popular, there were gelatin candies in other shapes, but nothing could beat the bears until the worms emerged. So Trolli celebrated their success by giving the worms their own special day.
In 2004, Trolli decided to break the mold with another non-bear form — roadkill. They produced gummi squirrels, chickens, and snakes with tire tracks giving evidence of their demise. By then, Kraft Foods had bought the Trolli U.S. brand, and they had to take the product off the market the next year in response to consumer protest.
Today, gummi worms are sweet and sour. They can be dual-color and dual-flavor. They’ve been served in ice cream, used to make vodka shots, and poked half-way down into the frosting of chocolate cake to make dessert even more fun. And they’re a key part of the global gummi and jellied candy market that is predicted to reach $40 billion between 2020 and 2024.
National Gummi Worm Day timeline
Scott Albanese opens his first candy store in Merrillville, Indiana when regional unemployment was 16%, and the business thrives.
Hans Riegel Jr. turns down a buyout offer for HARIBO from Warren Buffett.
The French Foreign Legion inducts Hans Riegel into the Legion of Honour as a Chevalier — a rare recognition for a foreigner.
Trolli partners with PlayStation® in ‘The Deliciously Dark Escape,’ in which players help gummi worms disappear into a monster's mouth to win prizes.
National Gummi Worm Day FAQs
Is National Gummi Worm Day a real holiday?
Yes, it’s a marketing milestone created by the German Trolli GmbH company to commemorate the day they introduced worms as the new gummi shape. An American candy company, Albanese Confectionery Group, Inc., in Merrillville, Indiana, which also makes gummi worms, has declared July 15 to also be National Gummi Bear Day, and they mark it with a contest on social media to win a 5-lb. bear.
What brands are the market leaders in gummi worms?
Trolli, whose U.S. operations have been sold over the years to Nabisco, Kraft, Wrigley’s, and Farley’s & Sathers Candy Company, is now part of Ferrara Candy Company, and remains one of the top brands. Others are Albanese, Black Forest, Surf Sweets, Sathers, Dr. Snack, and the legendary HARIBO, which now makes more than 1,000 products.
What other gummi shapes are available today?
Apparently, there is nothing that a candy company will not consider as a gummi shape that can be popular. There are now gummi llamas, gummi sloths, gummi dinosaurs, gummi Smurfs, gummi hands, gummi creatures, gummi octopi, and gummi evil twins, conjoined to provide sweet and sour in one bite.
How To Celebrate National Gummi Worm Day
Make worms with weed
You'll need 1 cup of fruit juice or fruit puree, thoroughly strained; 1 tablespoon of lemon juice; 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, agave, or sugar; 1 tablespoon agar-agar powder and about 5 to 10 milligrams of THC, to taste. But remember, cannabis candy is not for the kids!
Shop and share 'em
Buy a bag of gummi worms and shake 'em out by the handful to feed your friends. Taste-test all the flavors and find your favorite.
Improve adult beverages
Dump a bag of gummi worms into a 5-gallon aquarium and fill it with your favorite liquor — vodka, gin, single-malt Scotch. The gummies soak up the spirits, and you pop them in your drinks with a swizzle stick.
5 Facts About Gummi Worm Sizes That Will Blow Your Mind
The biggest worm's a whopper
Vat19.com sells sour, 4,000-calorie gummi worms that are 26 inches long, 5 inches around, and weigh in at almost 3 lbs.
Someone used geometry to calculate gummi mass
The whopper worm is equivalent to 128 regular gummi worms.
Minis have many flavors
Top brand Albanese makes Mini Gummi Worms in 12 fruity flavors: Cherry, Pink Grapefruit, Watermelon, Strawberry, Orange, Blue Raspberry, Lime, Grape, Green Apple, Mango, Pineapple, and Lemon.
There's a party python
The world's largest gummi worm grew up to become a 7-foot, 26-lb., 36,720-calorie snake that will take a $150 bite out of your budget.
Basic worms are bait-size
A regular gummi worm is 2 inches long.
Why We Love National Gummi Worm Day
Gummi worms are fun
You can roll 'em, stretch 'em, and pull 'em apart before you eat 'em. Take 'em to work, instead of doughnuts. Have worm wars with your friends. What other food is this fun to play with?
Gummi worms are among candy's best sellers
A research firm that follows the confectionery industry reports that gummi brands represent almost one-third of the top 20 non-chocolate chewy candy brands.
Some gummies are healthier than others
Today you can buy gummi worms that contain more than 91% organic ingredients, packaged in facilities free of the most common allergens. They're fat-free, gluten-free, and made with organic cane sugar instead of high fructose corn sugar. You can even find Kosher and vegan gummi worms.
National Gummi Worm Day dates