Healthy treats debut at Sweets and Snacks Expo at McCormick Place

CHICAGO (WLS) -- With 450 candy exhibitors and 350 snack exhibitors, the Sweets and Snacks Expo at McCormick Place is a grown-up version of Halloween.

Whether you're a sweets person or savory person, there are endless options.

For parents worried about cavities caused by sweets, 14-year-old Alina Morse designed candy that cleans your teeth.

When she was 8, Morse decided she wanted to create a parent-approved sweet, and now she is one of the youngest female CEOs in the country. She's been on the cover of Entrepreneur Magazine and featured in Time. Her business is already worth an estimated $6 million.

"I begged my parents to take me to the store and I bought all the healthy ingredients that I can make candy with," said Morse, CEO of Zolli Candy. "I started making it in my kitchen. I made a huge mess, my parents weren't too happy with it. I pretty much destroyed my stove top."

Despite the mess, father Tom Morse said he is beyond proud of his daughter's candy now, which is flying off the shelves and promoting dental hygiene.

"So what Zolli Candy does is it raises the ph in your mouth. They make your teeth stronger so afterwards they feel smooth and clean," said Tom Morse.

While in town for the expo, Alina met with Walgreens and now her cavity-conscious candies will be on shelves across the country.

Local companies are also breaking into the health food snack scene at the expo. Chomps is an all-natural beef stick that was first created by two friends in their River North apartment. It is now sold at Trader Joe's.

"Our business is doubling to tripling every year and it's just people wanting to make healthier choices and not compromise on the taste," said Aarti Gopal, VP of marketing at Chomps.

The Sweets and Snacks Expo is in Chicago May 21 - May 23.
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