Dippin' Dots is an ice cream snack, invented by Southern Illinois University Carbondale graduate Curt Jones in 1988. The confection is created by flash freezing ice cream mix in liquid nitrogen; consequently, Dippin' Dots contain less air than conventional ice cream. The resulting small spheres of ice cream are stored at temperatures ranging from -70 to -20 °F (from -57°C to -29°C). The marketing slogan is "Ice Cream of the Future"
Dippin' Dots Flavored Ice Cream
The company, headquartered in Paducah, Ky, United States, used to not sell its product in stores such as supermarkets in the United States, but have just recently started doing so. On its official website, the company notes that its product requires storage at temperatures below -20°F (about -29°C), which is considerably colder than standard home freezers. Dippin' Dots are sold in individual servings at franchised outlets, many in stadiums, shopping malls, and in vending machines. Many theme parks such as Schlitterbahn, Six Flags, Cedar Point, PARC Management, Kennywood, SeaWorld, stadiums and arenas also sell Dippin' Dots. The ice cream is also sold over the Internet for delivery to homes and businesses.
Several competing beaded ice-cream lines have been introduced in recent years. Some of these competing brands are similar to Dippin' Dots in shape or size, yet differ in that they use dairy stabilizers and artificial sweeteners, in an effort to keep the beads from adhering to one another. Dippin' Dots, made from conventional ice cream ingredients, are held at sub-zero temperatures to keep the beads separate and free-flowing.
Dippin' Dots store entrance in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico.
The company has a line of novelties called Dot Delicacies made by combining the Dippin' Dots ice cream with other snack foods. A dotwich is an ice cream sandwich made by combining Dippin' Dots and fudge and placing between two cookies. Milk shakes, sundaes and ice cream floats are also sold at many locations. The company also has a line of ice cream cakes sold only at its franchised retail stores.
Dippin' Dots Franchising, LLC is the franchise division of the company. The company sells franchise rights to sell Dippin' Dots ice cream at retail stores in the U.S.
Dippin' Dots Global, Inc. represents the company in select markets outside the U.S. and its territories. Dippin' Dots are produced in Seoul, South Korea, for distribution throughout the Pacific Rim. The company maintains a distribution center in Melbourne, Australia as well.
Dippin' Dots were patented, but the patent was ruled invalid in February of 2007. The jury found for the defendants more on the validity of the original patent than on the actual infringement accusations. The jury's decision was primarily based on a finer point of patent law. The defense alleged that Jones attempted patent fraud by not disclosing that he sold the ice cream prior to a year before applying for the patent...despite IRS instruction that Jones' sales were done for research purposes only. The litigation continues to be in the appeals process.
Dippin' Dots, as the originators of the beaded ice cream concept, are featured quite often in the media. The ice cream has been featured on the Oprah Winfrey show, Food TV, and The Travel Channel. It was most recently featured on Gene Simmons Family Jewels on A&E Network. Dippin' Dots was recently the title sponsor for the "Celebrity Grand Slam Paddle Jam" celebrity ping pong tournament in Hollywood. Proceeds went to benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. The company is also a contributor to the charity Give Kids the World Village in Kissimmee, Florida. The show "Modern Marvels" recently included Dippin' Dots in their segment on the history and future of ice cream. Dippin' Dots most recently collaborated with the newest adaptation of Journey to the Center of the Earth, awarding the winner a trip to Iceland, the location of the film.
On December, 19, 2008, the company made an announcement that it is exploring the option of combining resources with another, unknown company. While the spokesperson for the company stated "Dippin' Dots will continue to take orders and ship product as we have for the past twenty years," it is unknown how this merger will affect current employees.