Quick, you’ve got a candy craving - are Nerds gluten free?!
Learn all you need to know about these colourful little candies and how they are NOT safe for anyone on a gluten free diet (even though they contain no gluten ingredients and there are no warnings on the packaging).
What are Nerds?
Nerds are rainbow-coloured candies that are shaped like tiny pebbles. They come in a variety of flavours: orange, cherry, watermelon, strawberry, grape, plus so many more.
Originally made by Wonka and now made by the Ferrara Candy Company, Nerds are made with crystallized sugar. The sugar is rotated in large vats and as more sugar is added, the candies take on their pebble-like shape. Nerds are then coated in carnauba wax, which gives them their hard shell, and then they are coloured according to the flavour profile.
Ferrara also makes different products with the Nerds brand, some of which look nothing like the classic Nerds. Keep reading to learn more.
What are Nerds made of?
Here are the ingredients that are used to make the classic Nerds candy: dextrose, sugar, malic acid, corn syrup, natural flavours, carnauba wax, and titanium dioxide (colour). Other colours may be listed based on the type of Nerds.
No gluten ingredients are listed for classic Nerds.
Are Nerds gluten free?
Classic Nerds candy appear to be gluten free, as there are no gluten ingredients listed and no warnings on the packaging; however, the manufacturer - Ferrara - has as statement on their website that specifically indicates the following:
For gluten-free, product-specific information, please contact Ferrara Consumer Relations by completing the Contact Us form here https://www.ferrarausa.com/contact-us. Due to changes that may occur in the manufacturing and packaging environments, Ferrara does not provide allergen or gluten-free lists on this site.
This indicates that Ferrara cannot guarantee that their products are gluten free and make no guarantees against cross-contamination.
I emailed the company to get more information and this was their response:
“We understand that one area of focus that is of concern to many of our consumers is gluten sensitivity. Based upon our records, Nerds IS NOT gluten free. We encourage you to continue to review product packaging and our websites for the most up to date product information.”
So although Nerds appear to be gluten free based on the packaging - they are, in fact, NOT safe for anyone on a strict gluten free diet. Don’t eat Nerds!
Ferrara allergen labelling
Ferrara has the following statement regarding Nerds on their website:
For every Ferrara product containing any of the "Big 9" allergens, we list a CONTAINS statement immediately following the ingredient list on all of our packages, indicating which allergens are present.
Please refer to the packaging, as the packaging contains the most current ingredients and allergen statements.
Products may be reformulated to provide the best product. The packaging is updated anytime a formula is changed; thus, please ensure you review the packaging each time you purchase.
Based on that information, if any product contains an allergen it would be listed on the product packaging.
Although Nerds do not contain gluten ingredients, the company has indicated they are not gluten free. Don’t eat them if you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
Specific Nerds products
Here are Nerds products that are marketed and available for purchase.
- Are Big Chewy Nerds gluten free? The Big Chewy candies do not contain any gluten ingredients; however, Ferrara has said all Nerds products are not gluten free.
- Are Nerds Rope gluten free? No gluten ingredients are listed in Nerds Rope candies, but the manufacturer has indicated they are not safe for anyone on a gluten free diet.
- Are Nerds Gummy Clusters gluten free? There is a note on Nerds Gummy Clusters - the candy is made in a facility where milk, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soy are used in the production of other products. Although no gluten allergens are listed, Ferrara has said they are not gluten free. Don't eat them!
Are Nerds dairy free?
The classic Nerds, Big Chewy, and Nerds Rope candies do not have milk listed in any of their products. They may be safe for anyone on a dairy free diet.
Nerds Gummy Clusters do have a warning on the packaging that indicates the products are made in a facility where milk is used. They may not be suitable for anyone with a milk allergy.
Are Nerds vegan?
No, Nerds products are not vegan as they use gelatin. Ferrara does not indicate the type of gelatin that is used, so it is likely gelatin from animals.
Also, Nerds products have a “may contain egg” warning, so they are not suitable for vegans.
Gluten free alternatives
It’s a bummer that Nerds products are not gluten free. Here are a few other options for you to try:
- Alternative to classic Nerds: Pop-Rocks are free of gluten, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, but they do contain dairy.
- Alternative to Nerds Rope: check out this post all about Twizzlers. There are a lot of gluten free licorice alternatives!
- Alternative to Big Chewy Nerds: try YumEarth Organic Giggles, Welch’s Fruit Snacks, Sour Patch Kids or Starburst fruit chews instead.
Happy snacking! (Not on Nerds, though!)