They have been around unchanged for 60 years: the square, colorful chewy sweets have accompanied the childhood of many Germans – on their first visit to the bank, to the doctor or at carnival parades. Children’s birthdays only really took off when the colorful chewy sweets in cherry, raspberry, lemon and orange flavors were distributed. But what are these sweets actually called and why have they had the same design for 60 years?

Some time ago, the comedian Ole Waschkau on Twitter (now Darren Ehlert, managing director of the Delitzscher chocolate factory and also chairman of the sister company Halloren, affectionately calls his camels “Frukas”. 

“After the fall of the Wall, the Delitzsch chocolate factory became a subsidiary of the Wissoll company, which relocated the production of various confectionery brands to Delitzsch,” explains Ehlert in an interview. Today the chocolate factory is once again an independent company and produces, among other things, Royal Mints, chocolate cream bars and of course Böhme fruit caramels. “These are among our bestsellers,” he says.  

The square chewy sweets are not a growing market, but according to Ehlert, demand remains “extremely stable at a very good level.” Ehlert emphasizes how much they like the product, as it is the only non-chocolate candy in their range. Cherry and raspberry are the most popular flavors.

But if a product is doing so well, why isn’t it further developed – and remains in a retro design? “Of course we also tried to modernize the fruit caramels,” says Ehlert. “For example, we changed the packaging to a stand-up pouch. But that went wrong: the packaging just sat on the shelf and no one bought it. There were even complaints.” On top of that, customers threatened on social media that they would no longer buy the product if something was changed.

Customers’ loyalty to the fruit caramels is remarkably strong. Ehlert suspects that his caramels evoke nostalgic feelings because they are often associated with first experiences or close family relationships. “People report memories of their childhood that they associate Frukas with their parents or with their first visit to the bank or the hairdresser,” says Ehlert.

And what happens to the candies at carnival? Ehlert doesn’t mind his candies being used as throwable treats. “In some ways it’s a shame to throw food around, but it’s just part of tradition,” says Ehlert, adding: “Carnival is good for our business. We sell most of the candies two months after Christmas.”

The secrets behind the consistent success of Böhme fruit caramels are stable demand, vivid childhood memories and the traditional connection to carnival. In an ever-changing world, they remain a small piece of nostalgia.