Zollipops’ 12-year-old founder squarely hits ‘better-for-you’ demand in candy category
By Adi Menayang
Health and indulgence are not mutually exclusive, something that 12-year-old entrepreneur Alina Morse, founder of nationally-sold candy brand Zollipops, knows perfectly well.
It’s safe to say that Morse was one of the youngest—if not the youngest—exhibitors at this year’s Sweets and Snacks Expo in Chicago. Her brand of xylitol candies, marketed for their teeth-friendly credentials, has been embraced by national retailers Whole Foods, Kroger, and Toys “R” Us.
“I’ve always wanted to create a business,” Morse told FoodNavigator-USA at the expo. “I’ve always been pretty driven to help people, and I figured this would be a great opportunity to help kids and adults around the world.”
Dental caries, the number one childhood chronic disease
The idea came up when she was offered a lollipop at a bank branch. “My dad told me I shouldn’t have candy because sugar is bad for my teeth, so I asked ‘why don’t we make a healthy sucker that’s good for my teeth so I can have candy and it won’t be bad for me?’” Morse was seven years old at the time.
Morse did research with her dad and found that, according to the US Surgeon General, dental caries (tooth decay) is the single most common chronic childhood disease—five times more common than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever.