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A Nerd-tastic History

Who would have thought that one of the most universally popular lollies, or as they say in the United States (US), candy, could have ever been named Nerds, yet, that’s exactly what has happened.

These crunchy and brightly coloured mini morsels shaped like little moon rocks wrapped in their equally unmissable packaging, come in a variety of creative sweet and tangy flavours and combinations.

The packaging has been a standout feature of the product since inception and includes boxes of various sizes, some of which are uniquely divided equally into two compartments with individual spouts for the purpose of holding dual flavours. There was a time when a three chamber box was manufactured, but solely for the United Kingdom (UK) market.

The novel design of these boxes must surely have been the work of someone who has, like many of us, become so frustrated when scrounging around trying to grab hold of that one elusive lolly flavour, amid every other colour of the rainbow.

Launched 37 years ago by Angelo Fraggos and distributed from Itasca, Illinois by the Willy Wonka Candy Factory, originally owned by Quaker Oats, Nerds came under the ownership of Nestle from 1988 until they announced an intention to sell the product, along with their other US confectionery brands, in 2018.

The new owner, Ferrara Candy Company, is a subsidiary of the Italian and world’s second biggest chocolate and confectionery producer, Ferrero SpA, manufacturers of well known products such as Nutella and Ferrero Rocher.

The Wonka brand, based on a Roald Dahl book, was created as a marketing strategy to promote and capitalise on the perennial movie, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, a month before the film’s release in 1971.

How the name Nerds came about is of some speculation. It has been reported, the candy was named after a reference in the 1950 Dr. Seuss Book, If I Ran the Zoo, where a ‘nerd’ is mentioned as one of the creatures the narrator would collect for his zoo.

It didn’t take long for Nerds to make its presence felt in the US and in 1985, was named “Candy of the Year” by the National Candy Wholesalers Association. With sales remaining strong, there is no doubt the confectionery has continued to attract support from successive generations and this trend seems not about to change anytime soon.

When Nerds first hit the market, the only flavour available was the combination of the ever still popular, grape and strawberry, such a stark contrast to the wide range of choice on offer in 2020.

As the number of flavours expanded, so too has the variations on the original product, some of which include:

  • Nerd Ropes
  • Sour Nerds
  • Rainbow Nerds
  • Giant Chewy or Future Nerds
  • Jumbo Nerds
  • Gum Balls Nerds
  • Neon Nerds (Only available in Australia and New Zealand)
  • Jelly Bean Nerds
  • Seasonal Nerds: Valentine, Hoppin Easter, Spooky Halloween, Frosty Christmas
  • Wonkalate Nerds-A chocolate bar only available in the UK
  • Candy Nerds Slushes 
At one stage there was a Nerds Cereal, and just like the confectionery, featured two separate flavours, and at the time, was orange and cherry and grape and strawberry. The cereal also came with a mail-in offer for a Nerds branded cereal bowl, which could be divided in two, following the same concept as the box design.
The Wonka brand, based on a Roald Dahl book, was created as a marketing strategy to promote and capitalise on the perennial movie, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, a month before the film’s release in 1971.
Nerds can be rather versatile as they do wonders for the taste and appearance of decorated novelty and cup cakes and are known to be great stocking fillers at Christmas, as well as bringing to life, candy baskets for a child’s Birthday party.

Not even the COVID-19 pandemic can quell people’s zest for Nerds and in response to this ongoing demand, I Luv Lollies have packaged up a mighty selection of the confectionery for a great all inclusive price of $22.00, that’s a 15% saving on the cost of the individual items. Click here to check out what’s in each pack and to place your order.

For the Love of Nerds-Enjoy!!!


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