A sweet collaboration: TricorBraun and Nerds give a twist to the candy world

Candy manufacturer Ferrara's motto is that they “believe in sharing delight in every bite.” Based in Chicago, Ferrara is the maker of NERDS® Candy, best known for its iconic dual-chamber box of two flavors that consumers can indulge in, side-by-side.

However, Ferrara’s research indicated 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. And Ferrara has responded by launching a new “twist” on the iconic dual-chamber candy box with a breakthrough packaging innovation: NERDS® Twist & Mix.

NERDS Twist & Mix allows consumers to twist the lid on one circular-shaped, five-compartment package to mix and match their perfect combination of NERDS Candy flavors, including Strawberry, Orange, Watermelon, Cherry, and Lemonade.

Ferrara’s goal was to create an optimal consumer experience, capitalizing on the notion that NERDS Candy is always meant to be shared with friends and family - even when on the go. Ferrara came to TricorBraun with a new product packaging design based on the features their consumer target desired:

  • Portability and Durability: Ferrara envisioned a slim-fit yet sturdy design that users could easily slide into their pockets without the package being damaged. The bottom of the packaging was rounded to fit ergonomically into hands for easy gripping.
  • Customization and Transparency: Consumers were interested in customizing flavors to create unique flavor combinations. Transparency was important to allow consumers to see the color and quantity of product being poured into their hands.
  • Sustainability: Sustainability matters to consumers. Ferrara wanted to ensure the NERDS package was recyclable and potentially provide an opportunity for a second usage.

“TricorBraun came highly recommended to the NERDS Candy team due to the excellent relationship our colleagues had with TricorBraun’s packaging consultant, Terri Sheppard," said Judy Lee, senior manager, Industrial Design, Ferrara USA. “And after our first meeting, we were very impressed with their custom packaging solution capabilities, their manufacturing connections, and that they have an on-site Design & Engineering team. Therefore, we knew we wanted to leverage TricorBraun’s expertise to address this consumer opportunity and develop a NERDS packaging solution that would bring our vision to life.”


According to Jay Lee, product design engineer team lead, Design & Engineering, TricorBraun, “Ferrara came to TricorBraun with an initial design, and we provided guidance on producing a custom solution that would provide an optimal consumer experience.”

To improve Ferrara’s design of five separate twistable, wedge-shaped compartments, the TricorBraun Design & Engineering team recommended a polypropylene base and lid design for durability while using a clarifier to make it possible for the consumers to see the flavors. Both the lid and base are recyclable.

The design would also include a resealable flap on the lid that users can open to grab their favorite flavor or twist between compartments to pull out two flavors at once. Both teams agreed that adding notching detail on the lid would help users have a comfortable grip while rotating to the right flavor chamber.

TricorBraun’s Design & Engineering team also produced three-dimensional (3D) printed model prototypes in-house—even when an unexpected “twist”—the COVID-19 pandemic—occurred. TricorBraun and Ferrara continued collaborating remotely on Zoom calls during the development phase. Also, TricorBraun’s engineers alternated working from TricorBraun’s in-house lab to maintain safety protocols while fine-tuning the 3D printed model prototypes until both teams could validate the design and its performance.

“NERDS Twist & Mix is a first-of-its-kind design for the candy industry, and we were thrilled that the TricorBraun team could make our design vision a reality,” added Judy Lee. “Jay and the TricorBraun team were so easy to collaborate with and were truly valuable partners, proactively ensuring our design intent came through and that no details were lost.”

“The fact that both TricorBraun and Ferrara really felt invested in each other during the design and engineering process to see the end product come to life and successfully meet a consumer need was amazing,” added Jay Lee, TricorBraun.


Joey Rath, senior brand manager, NERDS Innovation, Ferrara USA, reported that consumer response to the packaging innovation has been positive and they are “really excited about the notion and idea behind NERDS Twist & Mix.” Chen also noted that many consumers have been posting about their experiences across social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok, excited to share their delight in mixing unique combinations of flavors, up to all five at once.

“NERDS Twist & Mix has surpassed our sales expectations and is quickly rising in the ranks of our portfolio,” added Rath.

“TricorBraun is absolutely thrilled that the NERDS Twist & Mix product is a success,” said Terri Sheppard, packaging consultant, TricorBraun. “In fact, with the increased forecast and success of the program, we had to build a second set of tooling. And now that we are running components on two manufacturing lines, Ferrara can add seasonal colors without jeopardizing their everyday orders.”

NERDS Twist & Mix is available nationwide at major retailers and convenience stores.

With the success of the launch, Ferrara is expanding into seasonal offerings of NERDS Twist & Mix and is currently working with TricorBraun to add additional base colors for these products.

To date, the NERDS Twist & Mix package has been recognized with two prestigious packaging industry awards, recognizing innovation and excellence in packaging design: the 2022 Gold Award Winner, Food category, in the National Association of Container Distributors (NACD) annual packaging awards, and a 2022 AmeriStar Packaging Award from the Institute of Packaging Professionals (IoPP).

See also

Quality management 1: The essentials for a custom packaging journey

Brands that are looking to differentiate themselves are continually turning to custom packaging. But without quality standards in place, the opportunity to impress consumers can be lost due to poor quality or ineffective packaging. Satisfied customers drive repeat purchases and improve brand retention. It is critical to ensure the distinctive vision brought to life is functional and satisfactory for an optimal consumer experience.

  • Juan Pablo Rueda
  • Product Info
  • English
  • Created 24 Nov 2022
  • Modified 24 Nov 2022
  • Hits 282