What is Nerds Gummy Clusters made of?

Nerds Gummy Clusters are a colorful and flavorful candy made by Nestle. The main ingredients in Nerds Gummy Clusters include corn syrup, sugar, gelatin, citric acid, artificial and natural flavors, carnauba wax, artificial colors, and coconut oil. Let’s take a closer look at what gives Nerds Gummy Clusters their distinctive taste and texture.


Gelatin is the key ingredient that gives Nerds Gummy Clusters their chewy, gummy texture. Gelatin is a protein obtained from collagen in cow or pig bones and cowhides. To make gelatin, the bones and hides are processed to extract the collagen, which is then boiled to form gelatin. Gelatin can absorb 5-10 times its weight in water, which allows it to form a solid gel structure when combined with other ingredients like sugar and corn syrup. This unique gelling ability allows gelatin to provide the chewy, gummy texture in Nerds Gummy Clusters.

Corn Syrup

Corn syrup is another major ingredient in Nerds Gummy Clusters. There are various types of corn syrup, but most gummy candies like Nerds use high fructose corn syrup. High fructose corn syrup consists of fructose and glucose and provides sweetness to balance the tartness of the citric acid in Nerds. The viscous, thick texture of corn syrup also helps provide body to the gummy candy. When heated and combined with gelatin, the corn syrup allows the gelatin to fully dissolve so the gummies set up properly. The interplay between the gelatin and corn syrup is essential to achieving the right soft, chewy gummy texture in the finished Nerds clusters.


Sugar is added to Nerds Gummy Clusters to enhance sweetness. Common types of sugars used in gummies and candies include sucrose, dextrose and fructose. The small amounts of fat from oils like coconut oil also help balance the sweetness. Sugar works together with the corn syrup to give Nerds Gummy Clusters their sweet flavor and counterbalance the tart citric acid. The interactions between the sugars and other ingredients are carefully balanced to achieve the right sweet-tart flavor profile.

Citric Acid

Citric acid is responsible for the tart, sour flavor in Nerds Gummy Clusters. It is a weak organic acid found naturally in citrus fruits like lemons and limes. Adding citric acid to Nerds Gummy Clusters helps provide a tangy flavor to balance out the sweetness. It also helps activate and enhance the fruit flavors, giving the different Nerds clusters more tart, fruity taste. The small amounts of citric acid taste quite sour on their own, which is why it is combined with sweeteners like corn syrup and sugars. The careful balance between citric acid and sweetener is key to achieving the signature sweet-tart flavor of Nerds.

Natural and Artificial Flavors

Both natural and artificial flavors are used in Nerds Gummy Clusters to give them characteristic taste profiles. Natural flavors are derived from fruits, plants, spices, herbs, roots, and other natural sources. For example, natural strawberry or orange flavoring may be obtained by isolating the flavor compounds from real fruits. Artificial flavors are chemically synthesized in a lab to mimic natural flavors. Using both types allows candy makers to achieve the right balance of authentic and consistent flavors in Nerds Gummy Clusters. Popular Nerds cluster flavors include strawberry, orange, grape, cherry, and tropical flavors like pineapple, mango, and lemon. The flavors are designed to taste bright and pronounced to match the colorful, fun visual appeal of Nerds.


Bright, vibrant colors are characteristic of Nerds Gummy Clusters. The candies get their color from artificial food dyes like Red #40, Blue #1, and Yellow #5. These petroleum-derived artificial colors provide the wide range of intense hues that Nerds Gummy Clusters are known for. Color is an important part of the appeal and personality of Nerds. Typical Nerds color schemes include pairs like purple and pink, blue and orange, or green and red. The colors are coordinated to also match the candy flavors – for example, red clusters taste like cherry or strawberry. The artificial food dyes allow the colors to really pop compared to natural alternatives.

Coconut Oil

A small amount of coconut oil is included in Nerds Gummy Clusters. The coconut oil helps provide a smooth, slick mouthfeel to the gummy texture. The fatty acids in coconut oil also help balance the sweetness and enhance flavor delivery. Only a tiny amount is needed to achieve these effects. Coconut oil also acts as a humectant to retain moisture in the gummies so they don’t dry out. The coconut oil has a subtle tropical flavor that works well with fruit-flavored Nerds Gummy Clusters.

Carnauba Wax

Carnauba wax comes from palm leaves and helps give Nerds Gummy Clusters a waxy sheen and texture. It is used as a coating on the exterior of the gummies. Adding a thin layer of edible carnauba wax helps retain moisture to keep the candies soft and chewy. It also provides protection from oxygen and light to help preserve freshness. Additionally, the wax gives Nerds Gummy Clusters a more attractive appearance by providing a smooth, glossy finish.

Making Nerds Gummy Clusters

Nerds Gummy Clusters are produced through a multi-step manufacturing process involving mixing, cooking, shaping, cooling, and coating:

  1. The liquid ingredients like corn syrup, sugar, and water are combined in large kettles and cooked. Citric acid and colors are added at this stage.
  2. The mixture is then cooled slightly and poured into another kettle. Gelatin is mixed in until fully dissolved.
  3. The gelatin mixture is poured into molds of the iconic Nerds clusters shapes. Each mold is lightly coated in oil to help release the gummies after setting.
  4. The filled molds move through cooling tunnels for 12-36 hours to allow the gummies to fully set up.
  5. Once set, the gummy clusters are removed from the molds and coated with a layer of carnauba wax. They are then allowed to cure for 1-2 days.
  6. Finally, the finished Nerds Gummy Clusters are packaged and ready to be enjoyed!

The ingredients may be adjusted in small amounts to tweak flavors, colors, or textures during manufacturing. Extensive quality control and testing is also conducted throughout production to ensure each batch of Nerds Gummy Clusters meets specifications.

Ingredient Safety

All the ingredients used in Nerds Gummy Clusters are considered safe for consumption. Here is some information on the safety of key ingredients:


Gelatin is a protein that can be safely consumed, even in large amounts. The bulk of gelatin today is highly processed to remove impurities, making it very pure.

Corn Syrup

Corn syrup has a long history of use in processed foods. It is broken down into simple sugars like glucose and does not pose any health risks in moderation.


Sugars used in Nerds are typical table sugar, corn syrups and fruit juice concentrates that are generally recognized as safe (GRAS). Consumed in moderation, the sugars in Nerds are not a health concern.

Citric Acid

Citric acid is a weak acid found naturally in citrus fruits that is harmless in the tiny amounts used to flavor candy.

Artificial Colors

The artificial food dyes used to color Nerds can be controversial, but there is little evidence they pose any serious health risks. The amounts used are very small and heavily regulated.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is high in saturated fats, but the trivial amounts in Nerds will not affect health. It also provides potential benefits like antibacterial and antiviral properties.

Carnauba Wax

Carnauba wax is derived from palm leaves and is a non-toxic edible wax approved for use in foods in the U.S. and Europe.

Of course, Nerds Gummy Clusters are still candy and should be enjoyed in moderation as part of a balanced diet. But there are no hazardous or concerning ingredients used to make these fun fruity gummies!

Nutrition Facts

Here are the nutrition facts for Nerds Gummy Clusters (per 1⁄4 cup serving size or 28g):

Nutrient Amount
Calories 110
Total Fat 0g
Sodium 15mg
Total Carbohydrate 28g
Sugars 22g
Added Sugars 16g
Protein 1g

As you can see, a single serving of Nerds Gummy Clusters contains 110 calories and 28g of carbohydrates, most of which comes from sugars. There is minimal fat, sodium, and protein. The ingredient list confirms that the product is mostly sugar, corn syrup, and gelatin.

Nerds Gummy Clusters would be considered a fun sweet treat but contain little nutritional value. As with any candy, they should be eaten in moderation as part of an overall healthy and balanced diet.

Common Questions

Are Nerds Gummy Clusters vegan?

No, Nerds Gummy Clusters are not vegan because they contain gelatin. Gelatin is derived from animal products like cow bones and pig skins, which means it is not permitted on a vegan diet. There are some vegan gummy candies on the market that replace gelatin with pectin from fruits or seaweed extract. But currently, Nerds Gummy Clusters are not one of them.

Are Nerds Gummy Clusters gluten-free?

Yes, Nerds Gummy Clusters are certified gluten-free. They do not contain any ingredients derived from wheat, barley, rye or other gluten-containing grains. This makes Nerds Gummy Clusters a good candy choice for people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

Do Nerds Gummy Clusters contain egg or dairy?

No, Nerds Gummy Clusters do not contain egg, dairy, or any other major allergen ingredients besides a warning for potential cross-contamination. They are free of milk, lactose, casein, whey and other dairy-derived ingredients. And they do not contain any egg ingredients either. This makes them safe for people with milk or egg allergies.

Are Nerds Gummy Clusters fat free?

Nerds Gummy Clusters are nearly fat-free, but not completely. According to the nutrition label, a serving contains 0g of total fat. However, the ingredient list indicates the candies also contain a small amount of coconut oil. Since coconut oil is solid at room temperature, it likely makes up a trivial fraction of a gram of fat per serving that the FDA allows brands to list as 0g on labels.

Do Nerds Gummy Clusters expire?

Yes, Nerds Gummy Clusters do eventually expire and have a shelf life of about 8-10 months. Over time, the colors may fade slightly and the texture becomes progressively harder and drier. For best freshness and texture, it is recommended to enjoy Nerds Gummy Clusters within 6-8 months of the production date. But even slightly expired gummies are still safe to eat, they just become less palatable.


Nerds Gummy Clusters are a whimsical candy that contain a straightforward mix of sugar, corn syrup, gelatin, citric acid, artificial colors and flavors. The ingredient types and amounts are all typical for a gummy candy. While not the most nutritious choice, Nerds Gummy Clusters are designed to be a fun, flavorful sweet treat. As with any sugary confection, enjoy them in moderation as part of an overall balanced diet.

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