Are Nerds Vegan?

Published Categorized as Guide

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Whether you’re a vegan, vegetarian or just concerned about the ingredients you’re putting inside your body. Satisfying ones sweet tooth can be quite the challenge when you’re also trying to follow a strict dietary plan. Depending on the type of vegan you are, the options can be limiting. If you’re following a vegan diet and wondering whether Nerds or Nerds Rope are vegan, then you might want to continue reading.

Table of Contents

What are Nerds?

Nerds are neon coloured, puny candies with an irregular pebble shape. They began with flavours like grape and strawberry, but now they have a variety of fruity flavours like: orange, cherry and watermelon.

What Are Nerds Made of?

Some flavours of Nerds can be considered as vegan candy, whilst others are questionable, and whether it means that its suitable for vegans to eat or not will solely depend on the beliefs and type of vegan you are.

For example the watermelon and cherry flavoured Nerds contain all of the suitable ingredients for vegans such as dextrose, corn syrup, and carnauba wax, however they do have colours added to them like Blue 1, Red 40 Lake, and Yellow 5.

The parts that are seemingly questionable occurs from the fact that most American candies are filtered with bone char, although that is not entirely an animal product it is still not considered vegan. Artificial food dyes like Blue 1 and Red 40 Lake are debatably vegan, the artificial colours are where the problem occurs.

The additives and dyes are fully synthetic and made in a lab, but sometimes they can be tested on animals, therefore labelling them as not suitable for vegetarians. If these are the things that are not considered a concern for someone who is following a vegan diet, then perhaps the watermelon and cherry flavours are suitable for some vegans.

Are Nerds and Nerd Ropes Vegan?

Figuring out whether certain types of candies are vegan or not can be a challenging task, especially with all the weird ingredients present in candy. Nerds can be vegan but it depends on the flavour you’ve picked out. Red and pink nerds are coloured with carmine, which is made from crushed insects. Following a vegan diet, would mean that any type of animal product cannot be eaten, and since insects are animals, the red and pink nerds aren’t vegan.

Similarly, Nerds Rope is generally considered non vegan. This is mainly due to the fact that Nerds Rope contains gelatine that acts as a glue, to mesh the pebbled candies together. Essentially, since gelatine is made from animals it cannot be vegan, Nerds Rope can also contain carmine, a red coloured colouring obtained from crushed insects, for these reasons most vegans wouldn’t go near Nerds Rope.

Why Isn’t the Gelatine in Nerds Rope Considered Vegan?

Gelatine is made from animal bones, skin, or hooves unless they have been obtained from plant-based organisms; which would be an entirely different story altogether, Additionally, many artificial dyes are put into gelatine, which makes it quite impossible for vegans to gravitate towards these types of candies. Nerd Ropes are the only type of Nerds candy that contain gelatine, so regular Nerds should be void of gelatine.

What is Gelatine?

Gelatine is a colourless, tasteless and odourless setting agent, made from the boiled bones, skins, and tendons of animals. When dissolved in water and then cooled it transforms into a jelly-like form that is used to thicken and stabilise desserts such as custards, jelly and fillings.

What is Carmine?

Carmine or Cochineal extract, is a pigment of a bright red colour obtained from insects called Cochineal. Carmine is used because of its long-lasting abilities, remaining a solid red or pink colour even when exposed to heat or light. You might not see Carmine as an ingredient in plain English on the back of candy products, look for words like Natural Red Flour, Crimson Lake, or E120.

Are Nerds Vegan?

Nerds are not considered as vegan for more reasons than some, the main one being that all of their flavours contain some type of artificial colours, which are still being tested on animals. Nerds Gummy Clusters, Nerds Rainbow Rope, Nerds Very Berry Rope and Nerds Tropical Rope contains gelatine. For more information check out the table below:

Nerd FlavourVegan Status
Nerds Grape & StrawberryNo – contains carmine and artificial colours
Nerds Watermelon & CherryNo – contains artificial colours
Nerds RainbowNo – contains carmine and artificial colours
Big Chewy NerdsNo – contains artificial colours
Sour Big Chewy NerdsNo – contains artificial colours
Nerds Gummy ClustersNo – contains gelatine, carmine and artificial flavours
Nerds Rainbow RopeNo – contains gelatine, confectioner’s glaze, carmine and artificial colours
Nerds Very berry RopeNo – contains gelatine, confectioners glaze, carmine and artificial colours
Nerds Tropical RopeNo – contains gelatine, confectioners glaze, carmine and artificial colour

Ingredients to Watch out For as a Vegan

Depending on the type of vegan you are, would depend on whether Nerds are considered vegan or not, as well as the type of Nerds you plan to snack on. Regular Nerds do not use confectioners glaze, which is a popular ingredient used to give candy that special glossy sheen, and to achieve this, an astonishing quantity of insects are killed. The four main ingredients that raise red flags for strict vegans are listed below:

  • Sugar
  • Corn Syrup
  • Artificial Colours
  • Carmine


Most companies that produce candy on a very large scale – like Nerds – use bone char, which is – of course – an animal product. Whether the sugar from nerds falls into this category or not is unclear, but its safer to assume that bone char is used as a filtering process, since it is not uncommon. This should clearly indicate that Nerds are not vegan, because of poorly defined ingredients, that are more than likely involving animals, whether that is with their bodily parts and fluids, or testing their products on them.

Corn Syrup

Nerds rely on corny syrup for additional sweetening which doesn’t overwhelm the flavour of the candy. While corn syrup is naturally vegan, certain manufacturers seemingly make use of genetic modifications to keep up with the great demand for it. Often these genetic modifications will contain the genes of animals – jellyfish being a common source – to help the plant’s resilience. Which is probably why corn syrup could be an ingredient that vegans would find themselves feeling sceptical about.

Artificial Colours

You might come across some ingredients like Blue 1, Red 40 Lake, and Yellow 5, so what do they mean? Essentially these are artificial colourings, and feeling a little unsettled just by seeing them on the back of a Nerds packaging, isn’t wrong.

All those magical colours found in candies are the product of synthetically produced ingredients, often tested on animals. So once you’ve noticed that a box of Nerds contains colours like, Blue 1, Red 40 Lake, or Yellow 5, you’d know for a fact that a certain kind of living creature was exposed to tests to ensure your safety.


There are two types of Nerds – grape and strawberry – that contain an active ingredient known as carmine. Once you know how this ingredient is obtained, it’s enough to make anyone’s skin crawl. It is made by boiling the bodies of cochineal insects in ammonia which is sort of disgusting when you think about it. Vegans should steer clear of the grape and strawberry flavours as they both contain cochineal.

Are Nerds Vegetarian

Unfortunately Nerds cannot be suitable for vegetarians, because whilst their flavours are quite fruity, they’re ingredients contain elements of animals. Additionally colourings present in these candies are tested on animals, and whilst vegetarians might not be bothered by this, vegans would prefer to skip these types of candies.

Nerds Grape & Strawberry, Nerds Watermelon & Cherry, Nerds Rainbow, Big Chewy Nerds, and Sour Big Chewy Nerds might be vegetarian since the diet is not as strict as vegans, and the rest of the flavours of Nerds, contain gelatine.

Vegan Candy Alternatives

The candy aisle of a grocery store isn’t always the friendliest side of the store. With vibrant colours that attract the eyes of anyone with a throbbing sweet tooth, it’s hard to pluck the juiciest one from the shelf, and throw it into your basket when you’re following a strict diet plan, that essentially takes over your entire lifestyle. Being a vegan would mean that checking the ingredients of any product is normal, especially when there’s potential of elements of animals present in the food or candy.

Most chocolate products contain milk or whey, gummies typically get their texture from gelatine – or animal bones, skin, and tendons. Many bright red treats get their vibrant tinge from carmine – a pigment that comes from crushed bugs. Fortunately, there are many vegan options available, so that you can avoid the stomach-churning additives listed above.

Here is a list of vegan friendly candies, so that you can satisfy your sweet tooth without harming animals.

  • Blow Popper
  • Fun Dip
  • Grape Nerds
  • Skittles
  • Twizzlers
  • Starbursts
  • Jelly Tots
  • Fruit Pastilles
  • Millions
  • Candy Kittens
  • Love Hearts
  • Haribo Rainbow Stripes
  • Fox’s Glacier Fruits
  • Swizzels Drumstick Chews, Choos & Chew Bar

Blow Popper

Blow Pops are the best two-for-one candy deal. You get a sticky sweet lollipop and once that’s finished, you’re eft with some chewing gum. Blow Pops are totally vegan, meaning that you can confidently grab a handful to keep your sweet tooth satisfied for the entire day. This candy does not contain gelatine, dairy or eggs, meaning that they had vegans in mind when creating this candy!

Fun Dip

Smothering your sticks in tangy powders can be completely satisfying, especially when you know that their vegan friendly. They don’t use carmine which is a major plus, as well as the fact that they don’t contain any sort of animal products in their ingredients whatsoever.

Grape Nerds

While most varieties of Nerds aren’t vegan, due to the pink or red colours in the mix that contains elements of carmine, there is one vegan-friendly flavour – grape. It’s a little harder to find grape flavoured Nerds in grocery stores, so you might find yourself with more luck in ordering this candy off Amazon.


Skittles is one of the most popular candies that proudly sit on the shelves of grocery stores, knowing that they’re vegan-friendly. Yep, no animal products in here! While they were made using gelatine in the past that is no longer the case. Plus it’s not only the original flavour that is vegan – it’s all of them!


If you’re having a scooby down the candy isle, at a local petrol station or the cinema Twizzlers won’t let you down. Whether you go for the strawberry flavour, the filled bits or the colourful twists, each product is perfectly okay to snack on. With a whole variety of flavours, your tongue will never grow bored.


These fun fruit flavoured soft chews are vegan and vegetarian, but they do include palm oil, which might be something that vegans choose to avoid. Other than that there is no indication that the ingredients of this delicious candy has traces of animal products, so you can happily munch on one or more of these throughout your day.

Jelly Tots

Although these are made in factories which also handle gelatine, these candies are made with vegan-friendly products. They have always been vegan friendly, as they do not contain traces of gelatine, however vegans might choose to steer clear of these candies, since the factories still work with gelatine for other products of candy.

Fruit Pastilles

Fruit Pastilles are vegan, and can be brought from any supermarket, you can get your hands on tubes and multipacks that are vegan, and if these are your favourite you’ll be back for more before you know it. There’s something quite addicting about these fruity candies, once one has been in your mouth, the other will follow.


A childhood favourite that comes in all sorts of colours and flavours, with bubble-gum flavour being my only choice, you might like cherry or coca cola, and if you’re like me you’d want your mouth bulging with these tiny treats. If you’re craving sugar, then millions will sort you out and they’re vegan!

Candy Kittens

Candy Kittens are quite new to the show, so don’t panic if you haven’t heard of them. These tangy sweets are 100% vegan friendly, and all the more reason why you should get your hands on them. They come in a variety of flavours such as: Blueberry Bliss, Peach Fizz, and Eton Mess, all of which are super tasty, vegan friendly and gluten free!

Another great thing about these sweets is that they have no artificial colours, contain all natural flavourings and made with real fruit juice, a no-brainer really!

Love Hearts

These iconic candies, have little cute messages on them like – I LOVE YOU or BE MINE – for you and your kids to enjoy, and the best part is – their vegan!

Haribo Rainbow Stripes

Whilst ordinary Haribo Star mix is not appropriate for vegans, rainbow stripes are! Made with real fruit juice and no artificial colours, these fabulous treats make the perfect afternoon snack, especially for those who crave fizzy candies.

Fox’s Glacier Fruits

If you’re a fan of hard boiled sweets then you’ll be pleased to know that Fox’s Glacier Fruits candies are vegan! With no artificial colours or flavours present in these candies, they are also suitable for vegetarians.

Swizzels Drumstick Chews, Choos & Chew Bar

Drumstick lollies are not suitable for vegans but the Swizzels that created the drumstick chews contain the same flavour as the lollies, meaning that they have created a vegan friendly treat, to accommodate those who follow different dietary plans.

So Are Nerds Vegan?

Due to the variety of Nerds candies being subject to artificial colours and flavours, and containing active ingredients like carmine, which involve the boiling of cochineal bugs, these candies are not considered vegan friendly. Weird colourings present in red and pink coloured Nerds, are also questionable, meaning that a vast majority of vegans might choose to steer clear of these candies. This is because artificial colourings, are usually tested on animals before they are released as products for members of the public to consume safely.


What Colour Nerds are Vegan?

Strawberry Nerds contain Carmine, while Grape Nerds contain two colouring agents (blue and red) which means that they are vegan.

Do Nerds Have Gelatine in Them?

Some varieties of Nerds candies contain pork gelatine in them.

What Candy is Vegan Friendly?

Twizzlers, Hubba Bubba, Jolly Ranchers, Skittles, Dark Chocolate, Starburst, and more!

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