Born in Bonn, he was the oldest son of the company's founder Hans Riegel, Sr., who invented the gummy bear in 1922. In fact, the name of the company, Haribo, comes from the first two letters of his name and where he was from (HANS RIEGEL BONN). After his graduation from the Jesuit boarding school Aloisiuskolleg, he did his doctorate in 1951 at Bonn University with his thesis "The development of the world sugar industry during and after the Second World War".
In 1953, he was elected first President of the German badminton association (Deutscher Badminton-Verband) after he had won the German championship in the men's doubles. In 1954 and 1955 he won the mixed doubles title. In the same year, he organized the construction of the first indoor badminton court in Germany, called the Haribo-Centre, in Bonn.