Introduced in 1983, Nerds are small sweets that come in a variety of abstract shapes and flavors, (which are usually circle-like, or ovals) and are usually sold in a box that has two separate flavors, each with a separate opening device. Nerds are anthropomorphized on the cover of its distinctive box package. The separation of two distinct flavors in one commodity has generated success for Nerds, likely because consumers can control their experiences. A Nerds breakfast cereal based on this concept appeared in the 1980s, but had a short life. Nerds were introduced before 1983 by a man named Petronilo Hernandez who worked at the factory making jawbreakers and various other candies, when he decided to use the remainings of the candy pieces and coat them with a sweet flavor, and later put them up for sale. This was tested, and was a success.
Nerds are of varied flavors and varied colors, ranging from extremely sweet to extremely sour; often the two flavors in one box will contrast, and a single flavor may even exhibit both extremes. They are thickly glazed with carnauba wax, which gives them a hard bite, and a gloss. The nucleus of each candy is composed of one or more complete sucrose crystals. These optically clear monoclinic crystals are about 0.2–1 mm in length and help define the irregular shape.
Sour Nerds have recently been produced. The first release contained the flavors Lightning Lemon and Amped Apple. The second released package featured Shocking Strawberry and Electric Blue. There are also 3 more varieties of flavors.
There are also several Nerds spin-off products by Willy Wonka:
Throughout the 1980s several new flavors of Nerds were introduced from time to time; for example, "Hot and Cold" Nerds (cinnamon & wintergreen flavored), Blueberry and Raspberry, and Lemon and Lime (Blueberry Nerds can still be found in large packages of Rainbow Nerds). One of the most unusual ways of introducing these new flavors to the market was with small, plastic "Nerd" figures/toys (about 2-3 inches in height), which were hollow and contained the candies within. The color of the figure corresponded to the flavor of the candy (also printed on the access cap on the bottom of the toy); it is uncertain how many flavors were produced in this manner, although Citrus Nerds were released through the toy premium. There are very few of the toy figures in existence today, and these would most likely be perceived as collector's items.
SweeTarts Rope also contains Nerds in its interior.
Nerds, are also ScrewAttack.com's Nick Cramer's favorite candy.
Flintstones Push-Up Pops also features nerds inside the ice cream/sherbet treat.