An innovative children’s product, the first of its kind, has hit more than 600 pharmacy shelves across Ireland. The dissolvable, all-natural, jelly pops, known as Tonstix, can comfort all children, from toddlers to tweens, through common coughs, colds and sore throats.
Developed by two Irish mums as a complementary product to medicinal support, Tonstix take on the form of a traditional lollipop to encourage the sucking reflex which facilitates lubrication of the throat. Honey, an ingredient with time-honoured soothing properties, is found in each pop’s jelly and slowly dissolves to create a coating that temporarily supresses distress and comforts irritable throats. The jelly is made using only natural ingredients giving a fruity flavoursome taste to appeal to children’s tastebuds and includes added Vitamin C and Zinc, known to support healthy functioning of the immune system.
Uniquely shaped the pops resembles stick people - an important feature as the arms prevent a child from inserting the pop too far into their mouth. The jelly has also been specially formulated to dissolve at body temperature.
Founder and CEO, Sinead Crowther, mum of four children ranging from 20 to seven, and a pharmacy technician with more than 25 years’ experience, said: “As a mum, I know that having a poorly child can be a stressful time especially as children can find it hard to explain how they’re feeling which is difficult for parents when trying to provide comfort. Of course this is only made more trying when pharmacy shelves don’t offer soothing supports designed specifically for children.
Tonstix came from my experience working in community pharmacy for over 25 years. On a daily basis, I was met with frustrated parents trying to do their best for their children with sore throats and coughs, but unfortunately there wasn’t an over-the-counter product that would soothe this type of discomfort. This and my own parenting experience inspired me to help.
After a long time considering the idea and due to my personal circumstances, I was unable to take it forward, but I bit the bullet in 2017 and began researching ‘How to make a product from scratch’ on google at that time. I spent 4 years developing the product alongside a leading food scientist to ensure its efficacy, safety and child-friendliness. I’m incredibly proud that Tonstix harnesses the power of natural ingredients and its child friendly, melt in the mouth jelly and provides a solution for parents that simply didn’t exist until now.”
Tonstix is the first product from Soothing Solutions Ltd, which has established its purpose-built manufacturing facility in Louth to produce the product at home in Ireland. The company has also secured approximately 800,000 euro in private capital from its seed funding round from food investment fund, Redesdale, Enterprise Ireland and other private angel investors, enabling the recruitment of ten employees.
Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer, Denise Lauaki, a mum of four children aged from 14 to seven, said: “Seasonal ailments affect every family yet despite being commonplace, there hasn’t been any products available in the pharmacy to help parents and caregivers comfort their child. As a mum, I know that not being able to ease your child’s discomfort is a horrible feeling. Tonstix not only provides an effective solution to this challenge, it is also made with natural ingredients and children enjoy the taste so it really is a win-win.
We plan for Tonstix to become a household staple, always on-hand, ready for when seasonal illness strikes, and now with the investment support we have secured, this is nearing reality. Pitching for funding from our kitchens during lockdown in between home schooling lessons was an experience - to say the least. However, now that we have our first product on-shelf nationwide, it proves what can be achieved when you are passionate about your product and put your mind to it.
I am particularly proud that we have established our manufacturing base here in Ireland and can create more employment opportunities as we grow Soothing Solutions and its innovative product range.”
Along with soothing a child’s discomfort, each Tonstix pop comes with a set of stickers designed to encourage communication between children and caregivers. The stickers help the children communicate how they are feeling, which is often challenging, particularly for toddlers.
Tonstix come in two flavours – Honey & Strawberry and Honey & Apple and are priced at €5.95 per box of six with a free fun sticker pack included.
Tonstix are currently available on shelf in pharmacies across Ireland, including AllCare Pharmacies, Hickeys Pharmacies, Adrian Dunne Pharmacies, Stacks Pharmacy, Roy McCabe Pharmacies and other independents.