Many people are familiar with this ice cream snack, which is totally unique. This has been a long-time favorite treat with kids, but there are just as many adults that love and enjoy Dippin’ Dots. Ice cream is always really popular, especially when made in really unique ways. The other unusual thing about this snack is that it cannot be sold in stores because of the temperatures that it must be kept at before being served.
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Dippin’ Dots are something that everyone should try at least once, and you should put this on your list of things to do if you have never enjoyed this kind of ice cream experience. You might need to find a specific location to give them a shot, and sporting event arenas, as well as other entertainment venues, might be your best bet.
Dippin’ Dots History
Dippin’ Dots is an ice cream product that was first sold by Curt Jones in 1988. The snack is made by flash freezing ice cream mix in liquid nitrogen. There is a specific location where the confection is made, which is the Dippin’ Dots headquarters in Kentucky. Dippin’ Dots are sold in 14 countries, including Luxembourg and Honduras.
The product cannot be sold at grocery stores because it requires storage at temperatures below negative 40. The cooling standards that this ice cream needs is not available at most stores. That is why you can usually get Dippin’ Dots at theaters, sporting venues, and other locations with professional-grade refrigeration.
Dippin’ Dots was founded in New Grand Chain, IL. Curt Jones actually started the company in his parent’s garage. The original project was actually developed in hopes of making cow feed. Jones specialized in cryogenics, and he thought that freezing food sources might make a more efficient feed for cattle.
In the early 90s, Dippin’ Dots seemed to be everywhere. Pre-teens were the main marketing target of the brand. The company made it clear that Dippin’ Dots were the coolest thing for teens who had fun with friends at malls and entertainment venues. The connection with theme parks is still going strong even today, indicating that this early marketing campaign had a lasting impact on the brand.
The small balls of sweet ice cream were spot-on for the kinds of treats that were very popular in the 90s. It seemed like every single candy, cookie, or lunch item that was marketed at teens were sold with a gimmick involved. Every item was a unique color, made in a unique way, or was a strange combination of flavors. The Dippin’ Dots product met all of these requirements with ease. The little dots were a completely unique shape, were brightly colored, and could be combined in strange combinations of flavors.
There are an immense number of flavors for this snack as well, which makes it really unique in the world of strange little treats. The ice cream market is often built around lots of flavors and varieties, and Dippin’ Dots is no different. What does make these little ice cream balls unique is that they are not offered on the shelves of grocery stores where people can buy all the various flavors and try them out. This means that you will have to head to a sporting venue or a concert each time you want to try out a new flavor.
Traditional ice cream is made with a rich base that is churned at around 30 degrees F. This is a gradual process that changes the texture of the ice cream to make it smooth and easy to melt. When Dippin’ Dots are made, they are frozen rapidly, which makes them harden on the surface and turn into round balls. This is because there is no time for ice crystals to form in the product. These little balls unfreeze much more slowly than traditional ice cream. This is part of what makes the eating process very different with Dippin’ Dots, but it also makes storage of the product difficult.
Dippin’ Dots were created in the era of space foods, which were often marketed as astronaut foods. Freeze-dried foods were everywhere, and kids delighted in enjoying snacks that were supposedly sent to space with the astronauts. While there might have been more enjoyable ways to enjoy these snacks, the novelty was the most important part of the experience. People were willing to pay more for something that they could get for far less when it was not freeze-dried. Today, freeze-dried foods have been relegated to backpacking and camping food, but Dippin’ Dots still loom large in the ice cream world despite its slightly odd design.
By 1992 the product was protected by a patent. This was for the ice cream-making process. This allowed the company to sue a competitor called Mini Melts for infringement. In 2007, the US Patent and Trademark Office ruled against Dippin’ Dots stating that the process of creating the ice cream was not proprietary after all.
The first country that sold Dippin’ Dots besides the US was Japan. This was one of the only upsides for the company during this period, and by 2011, the company had to file for bankruptcy. Scott Fischer and Mark Fischer bought the company with plans to expand into 2,000 locations. They also planned to keep the home location in Paducah to protect the jobs of the 165 people who worked there.
By the middle of 2014, the company chose to buy gourmet popcorn franchiser Doc Popcorn. This entity had 100 stores to its name. For the next ten years or so, where Dippin’ Dots were sold, Doc Popcorn was sold. The stores that were intended to sell the products did not materialize, but the products were successful enough when sold together to make the product last until 2022. In May of 2022, J&J Snack Foods Corp announced that they would acquire Dippin’ Dots for $222 million. They are the current owners of the product and continue to offer it for sale only in specific venues.
The company will still ship directly to your home if you wish, but the only option to secure Dippin’ Dots at your home is to order a 30-pound bulk bag. The bags are delivered with a very large amount of dry ice packed around them. You will have to eat the entire batch practically right away, however. The product will not stay cold enough when stored in your home freezer. This is not an option that many people realize can be enjoyed, and the logistics of the process means that most people will not bother to pay for such a large batch if it cannot be stored for longer than a few hours.
Some of the other competitors for this product are working on options to deliver their version of this treat via DoorDash as well. The product is still not ideal for this kind of delivery model, but maybe someday, you will be able to order your Dippin’ Dots to be delivered to you at home!
Dippin’ Dots Logo
Flavors of Dippin’ Dots
- Banana Split
- Birthday Cake
- Bubble Gum
- Candy Bar Crunch
- Cookies ‘n Cream
- Caramel Brownie Sundae
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
- Cotton Candy
- Kettle Corn
- Mint Chocolate
- Moose Tracks
- Spookies ‘n Cream
- Liberty Ice
- Lemon Lime Sherbert
- Rainbow Ice
- Rocky Road
- Rockin’ Cherry Ice with Popping Candy
- Sour Blue Razz
- Vanilla (no sugar)
- Redberry Sherbet
- Strawberry Cheesecake
- Blueberry Sorbet
- Mango-Pineapple Sorbet
- Strawberry Sorbet
- Cold Brew Latte
- LOL – Lots of Layers
- Dot Sundae
- Dot Shake
- Solar Freeze
- Dot Quakes
- Rockin’ Cherry Ice
- Frozeti Confetti
Dippin’ Dots Ingredients
These ingredients are for the chocolate flavor of Dippin’ Dots. The ingredients might vary some for other flavors. The base of the product is always the same, so the flavorings will be different for each of the flavors. This is actually a really simple ice cream product overall.
- Corn syrup solids,
- Cocoa processed with alkali
- Artificial flavoring
- Less than 0.5% OF (mono & diglycerides, guar gum, carrageenan, locust bean gum
Dippin’ Dots Nutrition
|Serving Size:||1 cup (170g)||% Daily Value*|
|Amount Per Serving|
|Calories from Fat||168|
- Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet.
Dippin’ Dots Marketing
The Dippin’ Dots brand has always used essentially the same logo. The brand is associated with a simple cursive text logo with a small orange ball between and behind the words. The words, “ice cream” are under the Dippin’ Dots logo. This is a small and very simple logo that is still connected effectively with the ice cream product. There are few brand logos that are more recognizable, and even people who have never enjoyed this treat will recognize the brand.
The overall presence of this company is fairly mellow when compared to other ice cream brands. The stands for the ice cream are also really understated, and you might pass right by the Dippin’ Dots storefront without realizing that you were so close to a really unique ice cream treat.
Pictures of Dippin’ Dots
Dippin’ Dots Ads:
Classic late 90s ad:
A baseball ad for the treat:
Early 90’s ad for Dippin’ Dots makers:
Dippin’ Dots FAQ
Who invented Dippin’ Dots?
Microbiologist Curt Jones invented the beaded ice cream concept in 1988 when he used his knowledge of cryogenic technology and his love for ice cream to create Dippin’ Dots.
How are Dippin’ Dots made?
They use high-quality ice cream ingredients, the same found in regular ice cream, and flash freeze it into tiny beads. In other words, they freeze it really fast at -320ºF. It is then packaged and shipped worldwide.
What are Dippin’ Dots?
Dippin’ Dots is an ice cream snack. The confection is created by flash-freezing ice cream mix in liquid nitrogen.
What are Dippin’ Dots made of?
Dippin’ Dots are made of Milk, cream, sugar, corn syrup solids, cocoa processed with alkali, salt, artificial flavoring, less than 0.5% of (mono & diglycerides, guar gum, carrageenan, locust bean gum).
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