The Untold Truth Of Nerds

In the world of candy, there are seemingly endless options. There are chocolate candies, peanut butter candies, toffees, caramels, gummies, sour candies, and so much more. There's basically a type of candy for everyone and pretty much every craving. But one candy that you might have forgotten about is Nerds, the tiny little clusters of sugary goodness that look kind of like colorful gravel, but taste absolutely delicious.

Still, to look at the untold truth of Nerds, it's easy to see why the classic candy is so beloved still to this day. Nerds might not be the first candy you think of when you crave something sweet, but they're so tasty and tangy and consistently yummy that they're practically always a great choice. Whether you're at the movies, digging through some Halloween candy, or looking for a sweet snack on a road trip, don't discount Nerds. They just might surprise you, in more ways than one.

Nerds were created by this cinematic brand

While you might have known Nerds to have pretty much always been around your entire life, the story of how they got started will probably shock you. If you've been enjoying Nerds for a while, then you might remember that the box used to look a little different than it does today. Along with some design changes, there used to be a different logo on the box, reading, "Wonka." Yes, as in the Roald Dahl book-turned-movie, "Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory." Nerds candy was founded in 1983, a few years after the movie premiered, but the brand Willy Wonka Candy Factory was established just a month before the movie premiered to promote the film, according to Eater.

The Willy Wonka Candy Factory was eventually bought by Nestle in 1988, according to The Christian Science Monitor. This means that Nerds are now produced by Nestle and not Wonka. Of course, Nerds weren't actually ever made by an enigmatic man in a purple suit, but it was definitely fun to imagine that they were.

The ingredients of Nerds are pretty simple

If you've ever had Nerds, in any flavor, then you know that the candy is a pretty good combination of sweet and tart flavors, with a uniquely crunchy texture that makes them almost addictive. Seriously, you really can't help but want to dump the entire box in your mouth all at once. Given their ingredients, it makes sense that so many people do just that, considering Nerds are basically just colored sugar clusters. 

According to Nerds itself, the ingredients for classic nerds in the Grape and Strawberry flavor combo are pretty simple. Those include dextrose, sugar, malic acid, corn syrup, natural flavors, carnauba wax, carmine color, and a series of blue and red food colorings. The label also explains they might contain egg, considering the manufacturing process, but it's still obvious that all it takes to make Nerds is a little flavoring and a whole lot of sugar.

The original flavors might surprise you

As any fan of Nerds knows, part of the fun of the candy is that you can choose to eat them one flavor at a time, or combine what's in the carton together. The most common flavor you'll see at the store is still likely to be the classic Strawberry and Grape combo, and there's no denying the fact that mixing them together is generally pretty taste. But you might not know that Strawberry and Grape was an original Nerds flavor, along with one other combination that sounds both intriguing and strange.

According to, Nerds were originally sold in two different flavor combinations, and only one of those, the aforementioned Strawberry and Grap, is still available today. Back in the day when Nerds were first released in 1983, they also came in a Cherry and Orange option. The cherry and orange combination definitely would have been interesting to try, at least to our somewhat more modern palates, and it's frankly a little disappointing that it's no longer available.

Nerds had early success

When you consider the sort of work that goes into the invention of a new candy product, you probably assume that it might take a little while before it makes a mark with consumers and beings to fly off the shelves. But with Nerds, the success of the brand was actually pretty immediate.

Not only was Nerds founded as part of the Willy Wonka Candy Company, making it a whimsical candy to begin with, but it didn't take long before Nerds became extremely popular. Only a couple of years after the 1983 founding of Nerds, they won a pretty impressive award. Specifically, according to the Nerds website, Nerds was named the "Candy of the Year" by the National Candy Wholesalers Association in 1985. They'd only been around for two years but people were already obsessed with Nerds! And honestly, that obsession has only grown over the years, with the expansion of the Nerds brand and new flavors over the years. But if there's one indication that Nerds were going to take off, it's their impressive award.

Nerds are made in a genius way

If you're a big sweets person, then you're probably at least a little familiar with the process of how candy is made. It's oftentimes a pretty fascinating process to observe and the creation of those little Nerds are no different. But Nerds are so tiny and have such unique and different shapes you have to wonder how they're made so perfectly each time.

According to Eater, a worker at Willy Wonka Candy Factory revealed that Nerds were made in a pretty typical manner for candies The first step in the process involves large, spinning hoppers that are filled with sugar crystals. As the containers rotate, more and more sugar is added to the mix. Eventually, little edible pebbles are formed. Once those pebbles are formed and take their classically uneven Nerds shape, the proto-candies are then coated in a flavored and colored candy topping. Finally, they're taken out of the mixing containers and sorted into their boxes. It's a surprisingly simple process of continuously rotating and coating bits of sugar, but one that's still mesmerizing to watch.

There was once a Nerds cereal

In 1985, Nerds took things to a whole new level when they introduced a new product that had nothing to do with candy. Believe it or not, there was once a Nerds cereal. It seems that the brand was riding the wave of success following its 1985 award and decided to see if people would enjoy a Nerds cereal as much as they enjoyed the candy itself. 

Per, the cereal came in the two original Nerds flavor combinations of strawberry grade and orange cherry. Naturally enough, the cereal boxes were designed to look like giant Nerds boxes. There were two openings on the box for each flavor, just like with many standard Nerds candy boxes. Perhaps unsurprisingly given the landscape of cereals then and now, the Nerds cereal was also heavy in sugar, so it was likely just as tasty as the Nerds candy, though perhaps not the most nutritious breakfast in all the land.

The cereal was still around in 1986, but it's unclear when exactly it was discontinued. According to, the cereal reportedly caused an alarming-looing but ultimately harmless red-orange bowel movement. The potentially shocking sight could have been the reason the cereal was discontinued, though no explanation was apparently offered to the public.

You can add Nerds to this popular Sonic drink

In May of 2014, Nerds got together with another company to take their products to the next level in a way that no one had likely imagined before. Nerds got together with fast food restaurant Sonic Drive-In to offer Nerds candy slushes starting that summer at all Sonic locations, according to Brand Eating. The slushes were basically exactly what you would imagine when you think of a Nerds branded slush: a standard slush with Nerds candy mixed in to offer some more flavor and a crunchy new texture.

In addition to the Nerds mix-ins, Sonic also released some new dedicated slush flavors to go along with the promotion, including Nerds Blue Raspberry and Nerds Grape. Though the Nerds slush promotion started in 2014, you can actually still order Nerds in your Sonic Slush to this day. If you want to try out one of the best flavor combinations, try a grape slush with rainbow Nerds mixed in.

There were some failed Nerds experiments

It's not uncommon for brands to test out products that ultimately just aren't meant to be. Seriously, there's nothing wrong with a failed experiment or two from a company, unless it's a really spectacular candy or fast food failure. Over on the gentler side of unsuccessful ventures, you'll learn that Nerds is no exception to that rule. While their cereal product was obviously short-lived and sometimes left some alarming evidence in the toilet bowl, they also had another failed experiment that, upon further consideration, might not have been given a fair chance.

Specifically, Nerds once launched a product called Jumbo Nerds. These were, as you may have already guessed, just giant Nerds. Jumbo Nerds didn't stick around for long before they were discontinued, but you have to wonder if they were really given long enough to become successful. After all, there are a few Nerds products today that are similar to the Jumbo Nerds, like Big Chewy Nerds or the slightly intimidating Nerds Rope. So, what went wrong with Jumbo Nerds? Honestly, the world may never know.

Nerds has branched out with new products

Despite some of the failings of the Nerds brands with a few of the different products they've offered, the candy has also seen some successes over the years with new and different versions of the now rather classic sugary treat. Not only have they expanded their product line to include more than just the traditional Nerds candy in different flavors, but they've also added some seasonal offerings as well to keep things interesting.

Specifically, Nerds has launched a few new types of candies starting in 2001 with the now ubiquitous Nerds Rope. The Nerds Rope is essentially a long gummy candy that's been coated in Nerds. This delicious variant on Nerds led to the invention of 2018's Big Chewy Nerds and then Nerds Gummy Clusters a few years later. But those are just the year-round products. Under Nestle, Nerds has also produced an interesting bumpy variant on jelly beans, per Eater, as well as seasonal candy canes with flavors like "What-a-Melon," "Road Rash Raspberry," and "Gotta-Have-Grape" (via KSAT).

Nerds takes their characters pretty seriously

You obviously know of Nerds as candy, and while that candy has evolved over the years you might not have noticed that their branding and packaging has also changed a lot over that time as well. Specifically, Nerds has gotten very serious about the characters associated with the brand. The company has even gone so far as to name each color of Nerd and give them their own personality and character traits. Yes, really. On the Nerds website, each color is associated with a given personality. For instance, Pink is curious, while Purple is deep thinking. Meanwhile, Pellow is logical, Red is creative, Green is in charge of lending humor to the proceedings, and Orange is impulsive and spontaneous.

There are even short Nerds cartoons featuring all the Nerds characters and their own individual character traits. So, if you have a kid who is obsessed with Nerds, then definitely show them the cartoons, because it's honestly pretty entertaining. And the next time you buy a box of Nerds, pay attention to the characters on it, you might just get a little laugh out of it all.