Today Show Food

How a 13-year-old CEO turned her dream into a sweet $6 million candy empire

She currently employs seven people.

By Julia Curley

When she was only 7 years old, Alina Morse was incredibly ambitious — but she had one major problem.

“I was tired of my parents saying ‘no,’” Morse told TODAY Food. “I thought, ‘Why can’t I make a healthy candy that’s good for my teeth so that my parents can’t say no to it?’”

When she turned 9, Morse began “plant testing, research and more plant testing” to turn her sweet dream into a reality. She spent many months experimenting in her kitchen and also watched different candy-making videos on YouTube. Now, at 13, she’s the CEO of a $6 million candy company that she cleverly named Zollipops. The “z” comes from the calorie-free sugar substitute, xylitol (pronounced zy-li-tol), which is used in the lollipop base.