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Nerds Candy Container Offers a New ‘Twist’ on a Classic Favorite

Said to be a ‘first-of-its-kind design for the candy industry,’ the new Twist & Mix candy container comprises a round, five-compartment base and a rotating top for maximum flavor mixing.

The colorful new container holds 2.1 oz of strawberry-, orange-, watermelon-, cherry-, and lemonade-flavored Original Nerds candies, or one mini box (12 g) of each.
The colorful new container holds 2.1 oz of strawberry-, orange-, watermelon-, cherry-, and lemonade-flavored Original Nerds candies, or one mini box (12 g) of each.

Resembling an oversized purple Trivial Pursuit pie with all the pie pieces completed, the new Nerds Twist & Mix container is said to be a “first-of-its-kind design for the candy industry.” That’s according to Judy Lee, senior manager, Industrial Design for Nerds brand owner Ferrara USA. Lee was part of the team responsible for the new twist on a classic package: a multi-compartment plastic pack that lets consumers mix and match up to five Original Nerds flavors.

“Ferrara’s research indicated that Nerds candy fans, while loving the duality aspect of the classic Nerds box, would like the option to enjoy even more flavors at once without having to either purchase numerous flavor packs or separate their favorite flavors,” says Joey Rath, senior brand manager, Nerds. “The circular design is inspired by the consumer need for customization while on-the-go, so it was important to design a package that could fit into your pocket and easily pour and share with others.”

The colorful new container holds 2.1 oz of strawberry-, orange-, watermelon-, cherry-, and lemonade-flavored Original Nerds candies, or one mini box (12 g) of each. A rotating lid with a resealable flap offers access to each flavor—or two at once.

The original packaging design was done in-house by Ferrara’s Industrial Design team and included a number of functional and aesthetic features. Among them, the container has a sleek and clean design; it has a slim profile—3½ in. W x 7/8 in. H—that allows it to easily fit in a pocket; the bottom of the container has a soft profile that nests comfortably in the consumer’s palm; and the top of the lid has a flat surface in the center that accommodates a branding sticker.

   Read this article on Nestlé’s switch from plastic to paper for its Smarties-brand chocolate candies.

In October 2019, the in-house design team provided packaging supplier TricorBraun with a 3D CAD model of the design and a list of additional functional requirements. Ferrara requested that the supplier design a notch detail between the lid and bottom compartment to provide tactile feedback for a premium feel, as well as a groove detail on the outer edge of the lid to add an additional grip surface. It also wanted a lid that was easy to open as well as clear, so consumers would be able to see the colorful Nerds inside.

According to Terri Sheppard, CPPL, packaging consultant at TricorBraun, the main challenge with the package design was the lid. “There was a very fine line we had to overcome with making the lid easy to rotate, but tight enough to stay on the base, as well as having the flap easy to open but also stay closed during shipping and filling,” she explains. “We went through several iterations of the unit cavity and production tool modifications to ultimately achieve the perfect fit to meet all of the requirements necessary for transport and shipping to Ferrara for filling.”

Given the project began on the cusp of COVID-19, prototyping was a challenge as well. As Lee shares, during the early days of the pandemic, the Ferrara team couldn’t access the company’s 3D printer, so the TricorBraun team provided 3D-printed models from their in-house prototype lab using FDMs (fused deposition modeling), then shipped the models to each of Ferrara’s core team members to evaluate the design and functional details. “We had many rounds of video calls to fine-tune the details, and the teams were super collaborative and positive throughout the process,” she adds.

The final pieces—the base and lid—are made of polypropylene and are injection molded. The base is purple, with TricorBraun having offered processing recommendations for easier gripping of the container. The lid uses clarified PP, which allows for transparency and a view of the candy inside the package. Due to its PP base and lid, the package is said by Ferrara to be widely recyclable in the U.S.

To fill the new container at its Chicago-area facility, Ferrara installed new packaging equipment, including a filler from Spee-Dee Packaging Machinery.

Nerds Twist & Mix was first introduced in August 2021 to select customers, followed by a national launch in fall 2021. According to Ferrara USA Senior Associate Brand Manager for Nerds Innovation Jenny Chen, the new product has surpassed the company’s sales expectations and is quickly rising in the ranks of its portfolio. In fact, with the increased forecast and success of the program, TricorBraun has built a second set of tooling and is now running the components on two manufacturing lines.

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