This 22-year-old CEO of a gummy bear company will change the way you think about candy

The last thing you think about when you hear the term “gummy bear” is a healthy snack. They’re usually the kind of fare you grab when you’re slightly hungover or you’re rushing into a movie theater. That’s because, as tasty as they are, the average gummy bear serving has upwards of 25 grams of sugar—and that’s only if you are possessed with immense willpower and eat only one portion.

22-year-old Tara Bosch is here to change that. As much as she loved candy growing up and the happy memories associated with it, Bosch was hit with a dose of reality when her grandmother told her that the one thing she regretted in her life was consuming so much excess sugar.

That’s when Bosch started experimenting with a gummy bear mould to make a snack that was both delightful and good for you.

Bosch did her research and learned that nearly everything we consume these days has added sugar, from ketchup to cereal to juice. On any given day, the average American consumes 82 grams (!) of sugar, which translates to 66 pounds of sugar per year, per person. Whoa.

At the same time, Bosch reflected on her own relationship with food, and how unhealthy it had become over the years.

"As I got older, it became apparent that healthy relationships in all aspects of life come from smaller, smarter choices," Bosch tells HG.

Just as important as it is to drink that extra glass of water during the day or squeeze an extra day of gym time, Bosch knew that the small healthy choices in your diet were what mattered most in the long run.

Meet SmartSweets, the increasingly popular gummy bear company Bosch founded in her early 20s.

She dropped out of college to build SmartSweets, and she’s since sold $1 million in product to stores like Whole Foods and Bed, Bath & Beyond across Canada. Um, #badass much?

“My belief that we should feel good about enjoying the foods we love sparked my mission to kick sugar and keep candy,” Bosch tells us. She didn’t think it was necessary to sacrifice taste for health—and she didn’t want anyone else to sacrifice it either.

Bosch spent months in her kitchen doing test trials with some gummy bear moulds she bought off of Amazon. She confesses that she had no idea what she was doing, but she was determined to get the recipe right.

“There is no such thing as failure. Everything is a stepping stone leading you to the path you’re meant to be on,” Bosch says.

Finally, Bosch concocted the perfect mix of ingredients to create SmartSweets. Her gummy bear treats contain only 2 grams of sugar per serving, and they’re non-GMO, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and made with real ingredients.

Most importantly, they taste ~really good~.

Just one bite of SmartSweets will make you forget about all the other sugar-packed candy out there that’s packed with preservatives, chemicals, and unknown ingredients. “I had the conviction in my heart that I would find a recipe and a way to innovate the first candy that kicks sugar, naturally,” Bosch tells HG. And that’s exactly what she did.

As for being a 22-year-old founder—the age where most of us are just getting out of college and wondering what on earth we’re supposed to do next—Bosch says that the more she learns, the more she realizes that she has even more to learn.

"I don’t think anyone ever has it all figured out and that is 100% okay, but it’s important to admit that and ask questions," she says.

Another crucial key to success, particularly as a young founder and CEO, is being persistent. Although Bosch felt like she was going to nearly faint from the nerves, she kept calling and showing up to retailers in order to get them to shelve SmartSweets. All that hard work paid off.

SmartSweets is only growing by the minute. They have over 32,000 followers on Instagram and they’re working hard to get their gummy bear treats on shelves across the U.S. In the meantime, you can hop on the SmartSweets website and get these healthy, tasty gummy bears delivered directly to your door.

You’ll wonder why they ever put sugar into gummy bears in the first place.

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