Most lollies are around 50 per cent sugar, putting them firmly in the “occasional” food group. But Aussie confectionary brand Funday is out to change that.

“As a kid that was on the larger side, I used to eat a lot of lollies – and I still do to this day. There really isn’t an option in the marketplace for a really tasty, healthy lolly,” Daniel Kitay tells Broadsheet.

As an adult Kitay lost weight by cutting out sugar completely, but he didn’t want to give up lollies for good. With a background in the vitamin and supplement industry (he trained as a lawyer before that), he spent 12 months working with food scientists to develop a healthier, low-sugar lolly.

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Funday Natural Sweets is his brand of lollies and gummies, which are free from refined sugar, artificial flavours and colours. They also don’t contain any sugar alcohols – lower-calorie natural sweeteners such as erythritol, sorbitol and xylitol that can have a laxative effect on some people.

“There are pages and video reviews of people talking about their experiences with this stuff when it’s really affected their stomachs and they go into quite graphic descriptions,” Kitay says. “It’s honestly quite funny but also really scary that these ingredients are in such high doses in [some] confectionery.”

Funday lollies are made with tapioca starch and chicory root, two naturally sweet fibres. Paired with a touch of stevia, and natural colours and flavours such as citric acid and paprika extract, the resulting confectionary contains about 90 per cent less sugar than regular lollies.

“We recognise that when someone opens a bag of lollies they could say, ‘I will only [have] three or five lollies,’ and the next minute the whole bag’s finished,” Kitay says. “We surveyed so many people and self-control is such a big problem. The way we’ve [handled] that is one bag is one serve.”

There are currently eight Funday flavours. The core range is made up of the originals: sour peach-flavoured hearts, raspberry gummy frogs and fruity gummy snakes – you can now find these three at the checkout of Coles supermarkets. Bags of the strawberries and cream and sour cola bottles are gluten-free. And there are three vegan gummy bear options to choose from too – mixed fruit, sour and freeze-dried.

“It’s for anyone looking for low sugar and no artificial sweeteners – they’re people looking for a clean lifestyle, or those that haven’t bought confectionery in a long time and just steered clear of the aisle but miss those sweet moments,” Kitay says. “And a lot of our customers have children, and those parents don’t want their kids consuming as much sugar, so this is a natural fit for them as well.”

Funday is availbale online at fundaysweets.com and nationally at Coles checkouts.

This story was originally published August 4, 2021, and has since been updated to reflect changes to the range.

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