Based on the founder's personal experience of struggling with an unhealthy relationship with snacks and sweets, Funday Natural Sweets was launched in 2021 to create a range of naturally flavoured and completely sugar-free lollies.
They've hit the ground running and become a quick smash hit with foodies and health seekers alike who love a sweet treat, but don't want to suffer the consequences of the sugar dump that most lollies and candies come with.
We managed to get our hands on their 'Can't Decide Box' which landed us 2x bags each of 6 of their different flavours and styles to try out, test and review. Below we will take you through our first impressions of all of them, which ones we liked the most and dive into the details of the ingredients and health claims.
Funday Natural Sweets - A Comprehensive Taste Test & Review:
What I like:
1.) Brilliant Flavours:
Many sugar-free products don't quite hit the mark with their flavours, often leaving an odd aftertaste (and some potential health issues) on account of including artificial sweeteners and other additives. Funday does hit the mark in terms of flavour across all products I tried, getting a nice balanced sweetness by combining stevia leaf, chicory root fibre and tapioca starch with natural flavours like peach, raspberry, apple and lemon.
2.) Thoughtful Product Development:
It's no easy task to make a sugar-free lolly that tastes good and is 'relatively' healthy - but Funday has done a great job. Working alongside nutritionists and dietitians, they've put the time and effort into sourcing quality all-natural ingredients that not only combine for great flavours and textures (for most of them) but also deliver a decent portion of prebiotic fibre without any added sugars or sugar alcohols. Not all of the ingredients are without 'issue' though - but we will get into that further down.
3.) Great Team:
Prompt delivery and quick to respond to any questions and queries - the customer service has been spot on. The brand also champions some pretty good workplace, sourcing and production sustainability measures that you can find out more about here.
They often give Free Shipping across Australia and New Zealand - and you'll also score $10 off your order by using the coupon THEBIRCHERBAR at checkout.
What Could Be Improved:
Not so much an 'improvement' - but if you're used to paying a few dollars for a big bag of lollies, then the price might shock you. The fact is though - this isn't a normal pack of lollies where cheap sugar can bulk them out - you're paying for more premium ingredients and in-depth nutritional development from a smaller independent brand.
2.) The texture of the Gummy Bears:
3.) Tapioca Starch (IMO):
Notes & Ratings - Pack By Pack
|Flavour||Comments||Rating (Out Of 5)|
|Sour Cola||Just like you'll remember them from the good ol' milk bar days. Honestly - very similar to the classics.||4.5|
|Sour Peach Hearts||Nice peach flavour with a great texture and a good sour hit.||4.5|
|Raspberry Gummy Frogs||These are better than the original red frogs in my opinion! Similar flavour with a softer and smoother texture.||4.5|
|Fruity Gummy Snakes||A little less sweet and a bit chewier than your classic gummy snakes, but great overall.||4|
|Sour Gummy Bears||I liked the sourness but they were super chewy and stick the teeth together. Not my kind of lolly.||2.5|
|Fruity Gummy Bears||Again, too hard for my liking.||2|
What & Who Are Funday Natural Sweets?
Launched in 2021 by Perth-born founder Daniel Kitay, Funday has exploded into the health food market, quickly finding itself stocked in over 2500 stores across Australia.
Having suffered the health effects of an insatiable sweet tooth most of his life, Kitay saw a place in the market for Funday Sweets after undertaking his own health transformation to lose 25 kilos and improve his overall well-being.
After realising there wasn't much available in the confectionary world that ticked all of the boxes for him and those like him who wanted to improve their health without sacrificing all the treats they love, he launched the brand and hasn't looked back.
Potential Health Benefits:
I believe all highly processed and concentrated foods should be consumed in moderation so I hesitate to call Fundays range 'out and out health food'.
I do however definitely acknowledge that they are likely a healthier option than a traditional 'off the shelf' pack of lollies that are typically loaded with straight sugar, binders, artificial colours & preservatives - so if you are a health-focused individual who craves a sweet treat every now and again and, these are a better go to.
I'll quickly bullet point some of the key aspects that work to make Funday's sweets a much better option and dive a bit deeper into the nutritional label below:
- No sugar added - 91% less than an average lolly
- No sugar alcohols
- GMO-free ingredients
- Natural colours & Flavours - all extracted from foods
- Prebiotic Fibre - a claimed 7g of plant-based fibre in every pack, however, this might not be as simple as stated (discussed below)
- All are gluten-free and some are vegan
Ingredients Review & Nutritional Breakdown:
Below is an example of the ingredients list and nutritional information for the red frogs product. There are some slight differences from product to product - but this will give you a quick glance at what is typically included.
Let's dive a bit deeper into a few of the interesting ingredients that set them apart from the traditional offerings:
1.) Tapioca Starch (IMO)
Tapioca starch (IMO) - or 'isomalt oligosaccharides' - is the one ingredient that provides a little controversy in these products in my opinion. Many brands use it for its reported 'fibre' content, however, there is mounting evidence to suggest that it is more of a slow-digesting carbohydrate and can spike blood sugar levels in much the same way traditional sugar can. If this is an issue for you - you may want to look into IMOs for yourself.
2.) Chicory Root Fibre
Chicory root fibre is a genuinely healthy addition to the list and is where the bulk of the prebiotic fibre comes from - in the form of inulin. Chicory root fibre is extracted from yep, you guessed it, chicory root, which belongs to the dandelion family.
3.) Carnauba Wax
Carnauba Wax is also called Brazil wax, palm wax or the 'Queen of Waxes' - and is used to coat the lollies. It is plant-based, derived from the Brazilian carnauba palm and is classified as safe for humans, imparting no real health benefits or issues alike.
Other Customer Reviews:
Here are some other select reviews from the Funday site that give a bit more insight into what others think of the range:
As I am not a sours person I am pleasantly surprised to have enjoyed them - the peaches are particularly yummy! Had tried the red frogs before and not particularly enjoyed but have now had a different experience, whilst becoming hooked on the snakes from first bite! - Courtney B.
The first healthy sweets I have eaten that taste like normal sweets. They are just delicious! The sour teddies are my faves:-) - Janet B.
- These lollies are amazing. They are delicious, and have a real fruit taste as well as tanginess in the sour lollies. The textures are different between the types of lollies too which gives more variety. It would be great to be able to buy a mixed box where you get to select the specific combination of packets in the box, as I'm not the biggest fan of the cola lollies. - Elena T.
Are Funday Sweets Gluten-Free?
All Funday products are gluten-free, tested and certified by an independent 3rd party laboratory
Are any of their products vegan?
Most Funday products use gelatin and are not vegan, however, the Fruity Gummy Bears and our Sour Gummy Bears use pectin and are Australian Certified Vegan.
Are they suitable for kids?
Yep, Funday sweets are suitable for most kids in the same way that most lollies are suitable for most kinds (moderation is key!). Funday varieties typically contain less overall sugar and are a generally healthier option than most other lolly brands.
Are Funday Sweets Keto Friendly?
It all depends on what you take away from the available vs unavailable carbohydrate debate regarding Tapioca IMO. As the label read, these lollies have far less available carbohydrate than regular lollies, however, if you are strict Keto, you should do your own research into Tapioca IMO (or test it yourself).
Are they suitable for diabetics?
This is a question for your doctor or certified health practitioner.
What does (IMO) mean in the ingredient list?
IMO stands for isomalto-oligosaccharide. It is made up of short-chain carbohydrates and is a syrup high in maltose IMO is an acronym for isomalto-oligosaccharide. It consists of small molecules of carbohydrates and is a maltose-rich syrup.
The Bottom Line:
Overall, I think all of the products taste great, most have a good texture (in my opinion) but at the end of the day - keep in mind that they are lollies, not really a health food.
The use of Tapioca Starch (IMO) likely means you are still consuming a form of sugar, albeit, given the rest of the ingredients list - they are still probably a better option for you than your 'run of the mill' lolly brands.
Sometimes even the healthiest among us just want a handful of lollies and these make for a great option when that occasion strikes!