Home » Snacks » Are Nerds Vegan-Friendly?

Are Nerds Vegan-Friendly?

Do you want to look into whether Nerds are vegan-friendly? 

Nerds were created by the Willy Wonka Candy Factory in the USA, and are produced by the Ferrera Candy company.

Their signature is hard candy, miniature in size with an irregular shape. You can find Nerds spin-offs where these sweets have retained their moon rock-like features. 

Nerds usually have two flavours per box, with separate compartments and openings for each flavour. If you’re a vegan, can you eat Nerds? Let’s find out… 

Are Nerds Candy Vegan-Friendly?

The Answer is: No 

Unfortunately, Nerds are not vegan-friendly. Nerds are not suitable for vegans because they contain carmine, and artificial colors in them which create the red and pink colors in the sweets. Additionally, they may contain eggs from cross-contact in the manufacturing process. 

What Are Nerd Candies Made Of?

Nerds Candy Ingredients

Grape & Strawberry Candy: Dextrose, Sugar, Malic Acid, and less than 2% of Corn Syrup, Natural Flavors, Carnauba Wax, Color Added, Carmine Color, Blue 1 Lake, Blue 2 Lake, Red 40 Lake. May contain egg.

Why Are Nerds Not Vegan?

The Nerds packaging states that they “may contain eggs”. Though egg is not a Nerds ingredient, traces of egg protein may be found in them, as it is likely that the factory equipment that creates the candy has egg residue.  

The confectioners that make Nerds use artificial colors including blue 1 and red 1/ 2. While these are not animal derivatives, these synthetic colors are tested on animals. The following are more Nerds ingredients that are not vegan-friendly: 

  • Carmine: For red dye, carmine is extracted from boiled bugs
  • Glycerin: The source (whether plant or animal) is not confirmed. For this reason, vegans steer clear of this ingredient.  
  • Confectioner’s glaze: Also known as pharmaceutical glaze, this shellac ingredient is made from sticklac, the resin of Kerria lacca, an insect that normally leaves this derivative on tree branches.
  • White sugar: Bone char is used to decolorize raw sugar, and cattle bones are an ingredient in this process.

Veganism rejects any practice that commodifies and/or is cruel to animals. As the above products, directly and indirectly, harm animals, they are not to be consumed by vegans.


Final Thoughts

Nerds with a reddish hue are especially non-vegan as their color is extracted from cochineal insects.  

Though some sources state that grape flavoured Nerds are vegan-friendly, this is not the case. All Nerds commonly contain glycerin – which is not clear on whether or not it is obtained from plants or animals – white sugar dyed with bone char, confectioner’s glaze extracted from the Kerria lacca insect and may unintentionally contain egg. 

Try these links below for vegan alternatives and for further reading:

For more on Nerds, head to their website here.

Leave a Comment