Delaware North Companies Inc. (DNC), a world leader in food service and hospitality management, is taking on the candy business, one bite at a time.

Launched May 1, 2000, World Winds — DNC’s own product line of candies, including orange slices, gummy bears, jelly beans and a variety of trail mix products — are now available at the company’s retail units in airports and parks across the country. CA One Services, which provides food and retail services at over 30 airports, and Delaware North Parks Services, a provider of food, retail and guest services at national and state parks, debuted the private label snacks at 35 locations.

“This is an exciting program in the development of private branding,” remarks Richard Stephens, DNC’s president and chief operating officer. He considers private branding a corporate capability issue — the ability to design and properly source branded products. Says Stephens, “The key is to project high quality and value.”

The move to private labeling is part of DNC’s commitment to customer service and quality. Stephens feels the product will stand on its own when World Winds goes head-to-head with other brands, and since its debut, World Winds is enjoying a tremendous consumer response.

With Americans eating an average of 25 pounds of candy a year, DNC is determined to make this new venture a success in their 200-plus retail locations across the country. The company controls the packaging, pricing, distribution and sale of World Winds, which allows the company to customize its product and be as regional-specific as possible. Retail officials at the company are already looking into extending the World Winds product line to possibly include chocolate bars, licorice, and other items.

“Bag candy is the place we’re starting, and the addition of novelty candy and chocolate bars will enhance this program even more,” says Barbara Gnann, manager of DNC’s national retail accounts. “They’ll all have the same brand identity. And people will say ‘Wow! They really believe in this stuff!”‘

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World Winds products are dressed in vibrant and upbeat packaging featuring postcard-like images of popular tourist attractions including Kennedy Space Center, Yosemite National Park and Grand Canyon National Park — all locations operated by Delaware North Parks Services.

“World Winds’ bright, eye-catching packaging is designed to showcase the product and will look great next to M&M’s and other selections,” Gnann notes. “It has quality and perceived value.”

Candy and snack packager, Hyde and Hyde of Cerritos, Calif., was selected due to their experience and ability to address DNC’s quality and distribution needs.

Locations that participated in the initial rollout of World Winds include 14 airport retail units, and all of DNC’s grocery stores in the Kennedy Space Center, Grand Canyon National Park, Yosemite, Sequoia and Asilomar National Parks, Deer Creek State Park in Ohio and Niagara Reservation State Park in New York.