Berkshire business owner confirms shortage of fresh gummy bears in US
Did you know we’re in the middle of a shortage of gummy bears across America? You might be thinking “not at all. I see gummy bear products in stores all the time.” I couldn’t agree more. It seems that no matter where I go in the Berkshires, it is not difficult to find gummy products. So how come the United States is suffering from a shortage of gummy bears? We spoke with Robin Helfand, candy expert and owner of Robin’s Candy Store in Great Barrington, in an off-air interview as she gave us all the details.
Jesse: Robin, I see gummy products all the time in Berkshire County stores, how can there be a shortage?
Robin: What you see in stores are so called ankle bags (small cellophane wraps) filled with various Haribo candies and you’ve seen a lot of them.
Robin: Jesse, do you know what Haribo stands for?
Jesse: No, thanks for sharing.
Robin: Haribo means Hans Regal of Bahn. Hans Regal is the founder of the Haribo gum company and has passed away within the last decade. His family still has a hand in the business and they manufacture all over the world. One of the places they manufacture is in Bahn, Germany, where the company was founded. They also manufacture in Spain as well as in Turkey. In Turkey, they make a lot of the clip bags that you see in stores every day. Ankle bags will not be affected by the shortage.
Jesse: So what types of candy will be affected by the shortage?
Robin: The shortage will affect (what we call bulk in the industry) the fresh product that we get from Europe (it is usually still made in Europe, most are made in Germany) and then it is trucked in from Germany to UK From UK (this is the key) it is shipped to the United States and other countries.
Jesse: Why is there a shortage?
Robin: The majority of this product, as I said, is the fresh product which is trucked by the truck drivers to be picked up at the factory in Germany, across the European continent to the UK, and then it is taken to the docks and loaded onto the barges. From there it is shipped to America in containers. It gets here quickly and it comes really fresh, that’s what we carry. Earlier this year, truck drivers who are largely of German descent got it into their heads that they really don’t like the fact that Brexit has taken place, that the UK has chosen to leave the ‘European Union. Of course, Brexit happened on paper a few years ago, but this is the year shipping restrictions started to change. So all of a sudden they got together (the truck drivers based in Germany) and they decided that they would stop trucking in products that had to be shipped from other EU countries but had to enter the EU. United Kingdom to reach the docks. So you are a German truck driver, you collect your product from a facility in Germany (maybe Bahn, Germany), driving it across the continent of the European Union to the UK from where it will be loaded onto these barges. Well all of a sudden the truck drivers refuse to cross the border into the UK. The UK is no longer part of the European Union, there is a process to enter the country and they are starting to refuse to bring in fresh produce. Now remember that ankle bags are not affected by this as they are made (wholesale) in Turkey.
Jesse: The shortage is happening right now. How long is it expected?
Robin: There is a very specific answer. Six months. Indeed, six months is the time it takes in the UK to train its commercial licensed drivers. Those who wear what we in America call CDLs or commercial driver’s licenses. So the UK responded to this gum shortage crisis by launching a massive advertising campaign announcing that they would support UK-based trucking companies if they hire and train new truck drivers. It takes exactly six months in the UK to get your commercial driving license and become a licensed truck driver, able to get out of the UK and into Germany, collect your load of fresh gummy candy and bring it back. UK. on the docks and have it sent. Thus, this shortage is expected to last until approximately April 2022.
So this is it. If you’re hoping to get some fresh Haribo gummy products in the next few months, it can be a bit difficult, although Robin’s has enough to survive the shortage. If you like the peg bag version then you are good to go because this product is not affected by the shortage.
If you’re wondering if you’ve ever had a fresh gummy product like I did, here’s one way to put it. If you’ve ever put gummy stuff in the big, clear plastic bins in a bag in a movie theater, then you’re enjoying the cool stuff. Can you tell the difference between the fresh product and the peg bag product?
Speaking of candy, how would you classify these movie theater delicacies?