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Most kids love lollipops, but it’s no secret that dentists aren’t exactly fans of the sugary candy that can lead to tooth decay and cavities. Seeking a sweet treat that was also dentist-approved, enterprising teen Alina Morse invented a sugar-free lollipop that actually cleans your teeth, rather than contributes to their decay.
The 13-year-old created Zollipops, which are made with erythritol and xylitol, two ingredients that reduce acidity in the mouth and can help protect against cavities.
Morse launched her company, Zolli Candy, when she was only 9 years old. In addition to Zollipops, the company also produces drops and taffy in several flavors.
The products are gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan, dairy-free, organic and kosher, so they’re appropriate for a variety of diets. Zolli’s products are available on Amazon as well as in pop-up displays at Kroger, Walmart and Whole Foods locations.
“I came up with the idea when I was 7 years old,” Morse told Fox 2 Detroit. “The bank teller offered me a lollipop and my dad told me I shouldn’t have candy because sugar is terrible for your teeth, so I asked him why can’t we make healthy lollipop that’s good for my teeth so that I could have candy and it wouldn’t be bad for me.”
This past summer, Zollipops were the best-selling sugar-free hard candy on Amazon. Retail sales are projected to be over $5 million this year.
Being a successful entrepreneur at such a young age is quite unusual, but Morse says she’s more like her peers than not. “Sometimes my friends will tell me they saw me on television, but other than that, I’m just like everyone else,” she told Entrepreneur. “That’s how I want to be.”
Her parents, Tom and Sue Morse, now work for the company as well, and they are proud of their daughter’s savvy business sense that belies her young age.
“Kids ask really good questions,” Tom told Entrepreneur of his daughter’s natural curiosity and willingness to explore, which he believes led to her success. “They don’t have the same kind of baggage adults do, so they don’t see limitations.”