Lollipops are a dentist’s worst nightmare. According to one professional, they are in the top three of worst candies for your teeth. Not only are they pure sugar, but you hold them in your mouth a long time, letting the sugar break down your tooth enamel very effectively. Alina Morse decided to change that when she was just seven years old.
While at a bank with her dad running errands, a teller offered Alina a lollipop. She wanted the candy, but her father didn’t allow that type of treat because of how bad it was for her teeth. She began asking him why there wasn’t a healthy lollipop out there that could actually be good for a person’s oral health. Her interest peaked, she started talking to dentists about possible ingredients for a lollipop like that, and kept hearing about Xylitol and Erythritol, which are types of sugar alcohols that don’t hurt tooth enamel. Xylitol actually remineralizes teeth while reducing acid in the mouth following the consumption of an acidic food. Erythritol has similar benefits.
Armed with her two key sweeteners, Alina began making her own lollipops. She also used stevia and all-natural juice colorings. After the first few experiments, she added isomalt, which thickened the lollipop mixture. With a successful candy, she contacted manufacturers and started the process of getting her lollipops sold. She decided on the name “Zollipops” after her sister struggled with the word “Xylitol,” which is pronounced “zahy-li-tawl.”
In 2014, the first “Zollipops” hit store shelves at Whole Foods. Since then, the company has made flavors like strawberry, orange, raspberry, and cherry. It also expanded into Zollidrops and Zaffi Taffy. One of the regular pops contains 0 grams of sugar and 35 calories. At just 13, Alina Morse is the CEO of a $2 million company. She donates 10% of the profits to oral healthcare education and also saves for college. She’ll most likely be the only school applicant including “founder of successful healthy-candy company” on her paperwork.