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Home sweet home: HARIBO maps major Wisconsin expansion

October 15, 2023
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HARIBO Gummi Bears

Classic Goldbear gummi candies continue to roll off the production line in Pleasant Prairie

Three years after breaking ground on its first U.S. candy factory in Pleasant Prairie and just months after production began, HARIBO of America is designing a second phase that will double its size.

The company, maker of Goldbear gummi candies, began production at its 500,000-square-foot facility in the Kenosha County community last summer. The latest expansion is part of a phased plan that would eventually expand the facility to 2 million square feet.

That second phase would bring 400 more jobs to the facility in addition to the 400 already expected for completed buildings, said Wes Saber, HARIBO of America’s executive vice president and chief financial officer. The multiphase plan will also add an administrative building at its 137-acre site.

“We are deeply rooted in Wisconsin now,” said Saber.

According to the company, it chose its Wisconsin site “because of its shared values of quality, trust, and independence, coupled with the work ethic of the region and warm welcome from the community.”

“At HARIBO, we think in generations,” Saber added. “We are in the U.S. for the long term.”

The state-of-the-art Pleasant Prairie factory is the German-based company’s 16th production facility, supporting the company’s production of more than 160 million Goldbears (its signature gummy bear brand) every day. Globally, the company employs nearly 7,000 people.

“I started my career with HARIBO more than 20 years ago, and I’m so proud to be part of the team that made the dream of a U.S. factory come true,” said Hakan Zor, chief production officer for HARIBO of America.

The company was born in Bonn, Germany, in 1920. Today its global headquarters is in Grafschaft, and its U.S. headquarters operates out of Rosemont, Illinois. The Pleasant Prairie factory was opened to meet growing U.S. demand for its products.

WEDC supported the project’s first phase with performance-based state tax credits. HARIBO reported spending $148.5 million on that first phase of construction, according to the most recent WEDC data. The state in 2017 awarded the company up to $22.5 million in tax credits and, to date, has released $8.6 million of that amount to the company.

The company considered several Illinois locations when weighing options for the production facility, but ultimately chose Pleasant Prairie due to its proximity to Interstate 94, utility costs, and quality of life for employees.

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