WTF Fun Fact 13259 – The Haribo Gummy Exchange

Are we alone in mistakenly thinking Haribo was a Japanese candy company? Well, in any case, Haribo is a German company, founded in Bonn over a century ago. They have a fun annual tradition at their German headquarters, allowing children to bring in acorns and chestnuts once a year and exchange them for gummy bears, or gummibärchen (which are actually labeled “Goldbears” – another thing we failed to ever notice). The Haribo gummy exchange has been going on since 1936.

What is the Haribo gummy exchange?

Haribo will hold its 80th+ gummy exchange this year (2023) at its facility in Grafschaft, Germany. (It would be its 87th year, but Haribo canceled the exchange at least once during the COVID pandemic). Over a weekend in October, kids (and adults, it appears) can bring in all the acorns and chestnuts they can gather and get candy in return. People come from all around the area with wagons and laundry bags and baskets full of nuts, which Heribo employees weigh on “golden gummy bear scales.”

People wait for hours to make their exchanges. In 2009, over 20,000 people showed up – a record. That year, they collected 150 tons (about 300,000 pounds!) of acorns and 260 tons of chestnuts. Dozens of Haribo employees supervise the festivities which culminate in the final weighing of the nuts.

What happens to the nuts?

While there may be a few cavities as a result, the gummy exchange is for a good cause. According to (a translation of) Germany’s General Anzeiger news publication:

“The fruits of the forest are weighed and then exchanged for pre-packaged Haribo products at a ratio of 10:1 (chestnuts) and 5:1 (acorns) according to the number of kilograms. Only chestnuts and acorns without shells will be accepted, the company said. The chestnuts must be separated from the acorns for weighing. The chestnuts and acorns are then donated to animal and game parks in Germany and Austria for feeding during the winter season.”

Clearly, there’s a bit of work to do before kids can cash in and get their gummy candies.

In some years, lines of nearly half a mile have formed for the event!

In the past, Haribo held the event at the company headquarters in Bonn. But they relocated to Grafschaft in 2018.

 WTF fun facts

Source: “Haribo to hold its annual exchange: chestnuts for sweets” — General Anzeiger Online

WTF Fun Fact 13117 – The Flavors of Kit Kat in Japan

Since the first Kit Kat was launched, the brand has produced over 300 limited edition flavors in Japan. The first specialty flavor was green tea.

Kit Kat in Japan

Much of the variety of Japanese Kit Kats comes from chef Yasumasa Takagi. He opened a Kit Kat Chocolatory in Japan and started experimenting with flavors. The company has jumped on board with producing and selling them. They’ve opened up 7 other Cholatories in the country.

What kind of flavors are we talking about here? Well, there are high-end orange-chocolate rum, sweet potato, and cheesecake flavors. But there are also regional flavors made from locally sourced ingredients. You have almost no chance of being able to buy those if you live in another country.

According to the website Japan Based (cited below):

“For instance, in southwestern Japan, you’ll often find Ocean Salt Kit Kats made with sea salt taken directly from the Seto Inland sea. Alternately, on the Japanese island of Kyushu, you’re more likely to find Purple Sweet Potato Kit Kats locally produced on the island itself.”

Manufacturing funky flavors

Nestlé produces some limited-edition flavors for sale to slightly larger audiences. “Any excess product is usually saved and sold in gift bags called ‘fukubukuro,’ a Japanese New Year tradition where merchants sell grab bags of confections at discounted prices.”

While some of these are pretty strange, it’s all quite a creative endeavor.

Would you try an Azuki (red bean) Kit Kat? How about Brown sugar syrup? Hot Japanese chili? Saké?

We’d be happy to try a Cherry blossom or Caramel macchiato Kit Kat. But we’d be more hesitant about a Soy sauce-flavored Kit Kat.

But it looks like we’re alone on that. In 2010, soy sauce was the best-selling Kit Kat flavor.  WTF fun facts

Source: “The Craziest Kit Kat Flavors in Japan” — Japan Based

WTF Fun Fact 12407 – Stack of Snacks

Brendan Kelbie is a serial world record breaker who has once again entered the record books with his stack of 6 M&Ms. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but the previous record was 5 and we suggest you give it a try if you think you can do better.

Kelbie recaptured his title from co-champs from Britain and Italy who had done the five stack. His tower held unaided for 10 seconds at his home in Queensland, the Guinness World Records said.

“I’ve decided to break this record because I’m a serial record-breaker, and I am a versatile world record holder,” Kelbie told Guinness.

Kelbie’s other records are equally unique: he’s done the most drumstick flips in 1 minute (98), balanced a basketball on a pair of glasses the longest (29.67 seconds), built the tallest tower of dice on the back of a hand while blindfolded, and spun a basketball on his nose the longest (9.57 seconds).

We think these world records are getting a little silly but to each their own! We certainly can’t do any of those things. – WTF Fun Facts

Source: Australian man stacks six M&M’s, earns world record — UPI