Dippin' Dots

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Dippin' Dots is an ice cream snack invented by Curt Jones in 1988.[1] The confection is created by flash freezing ice cream mix in liquid nitrogen.[2] The snack is made by Dippin' Dots, Inc., headquartered in Paducah, Kentucky.[3] Dippin' Dots are sold in 14 countries, including Honduras and Luxembourg.[4]

Because the product requires storage at temperatures below −40 °C (−40 °F), it is not sold in most grocery stores, as most cannot meet such extreme cooling requirements.[5]

Dippin' Dots are sold in individual servings at franchised outlets. Many are in stadiums, arenas, shopping malls, and in vending machines, though there are also locations at aquariums, zoos, museums and theme parks.[6]


Dippin' Dots Flavored Ice Cream

Dippin' Dots was founded in Paducah, Kentucky, in 1988. Jones began the company in his parents' garage.[1] It was originally invented as cow feed when Jones, who specialized in cryogenics, was trying to make efficient fodder for farm animals.[7]

The company is now headquartered in Paducah, Kentucky.[8]

In 1992, Dippin' Dots received U.S. patent 5,126,156 for its ice cream making process, and in 1996 unsuccessfully sued its main competitor, Mini Melts, for patent infringement, losing the suit in February 2007.

Japan became the first international licensee of Dippin' Dots in 1995.[4]

In 2007, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ruled against Dippin' Dots because the process of creating the ice cream was "obvious" rather than proprietary.[9][10]

On November 4, 2011, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection,[11] after failing to reach an agreement with their lender, Regions Bank. According to The New York Times, the bank had been trying to foreclose on Dippin' Dots for over a year.[8]

On May 18, 2012, U.S. Bankruptcy Court approved the purchase of the company by Scott Fischer and his father Mark Fischer. The Fischers had co-founded Chaparral Energy in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. They retained company founder Curt Jones as CEO, and planned to expand from 1,600 sales locations to 2,000 locations, keeping the production and headquarters in Paducah, where it employed 165 people.[12]

In mid-2014, the company purchased gourmet popcorn franchisor Doc Popcorn, which had about 100 stores.[13] On February 10, 2015, the company announced they would co-brand stores with both products. The 1,000-square-foot stores would sell Dippin' Dots and Doc Popcorn, with a common selling counter, register and employees.

In May 2022, J & J Snack Foods Corp. announced that it was going to acquire Dippin’ Dots for $222 million,[14] and the acquisition was closed on June 21, 2022.[15]

Charity work[edit]

Dippin' Dots has sponsored the "Celebrity Grand Slam Paddle Jam" celebrity table tennis tournament in Hollywood, whose proceeds benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.[16]

The company is a contributor to the charity Give Kids the World Village in Kissimmee, Florida.[17]

DD Cryogenics[edit]

Dippin' Dots are stored and transported at –40 degree Fahrenheit (–40 °C), which is colder than most frozen foods require. The company's development of ultra low temperature freezers, proper storage and transportation got the company involved from about 1988 with selling their equipment for other uses, such as preserving microbiological cultures for fermentation.[18][19]

To expand this side business after the 2011 bankruptcy and sale, a subsidiary company, Dippin' Dot (DD) Cryogenics LLC, was established in May 2019. DD Cryogenics did contract freezing and pelletizing of microbiological products out of their Paducah plant. In August 2020 a new dedicated 6,000 square foot, US$3.2 million manufacturing plant came online in Paducah.[18][20]

Their services now include contract design and manufacturing, cryogenic processors, and ultra low temperature freezers.[21]

Vaccine storage[edit]

DD's creation of ultra low temperature freezing for their own food products, and commercial freezers going as low as −122 °F (−86 °C),[21] sparked interest when vaccines were developed for COVID-19 that required storage at -94 °F (-70 °C). Pharmacists and distributors of those vaccines reached out for those freezers.[22][23]


  1. ^ a b "Curt Jones" Archived March 28, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, Dippin Dots Website, accessed 14 Dec 2010
  2. ^ "Q & A: Dippin' Dots". Department of Physics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Retrieved December 16, 2011.
  3. ^ "Dippin' Dots Contact Information." Dippin' Dots. Retrieved on March 5, 2010.
  4. ^ a b "11 Cool Facts About Dippin' Dots". www.mentalfloss.com. April 7, 2016. Retrieved April 16, 2020.
  5. ^ "International Opportunities". dippindots.com. Dippin’ Dots LLC. Retrieved July 9, 2020.
  6. ^ "Food Service". dippindots.com. Dippin’ Dots LLC. Archived from the original on May 13, 2022. Retrieved May 16, 2022.
  7. ^ "The surprising origin of Dippin' Dots". CNN. May 4, 2020. Retrieved May 18, 2020.
  8. ^ a b Memmott, Mark (2011). "Dippin' Dots, 'Ice Cream of the Future', Files For Bankruptcy Protection". The Two-Way. National Public Radio. Retrieved August 16, 2012.
  9. ^ Kingson, Jennifer A. (July 19, 2011). "In the Lab With the Ice Cream Makers". The New York Times.
  10. ^ "What Went Wrong? Dippin' Dots: Why the USPTO Invalidated Its Patent and It Now Has Two New Competitors - www.dippindots.com" (PDF). ZuberLaw.com. Part 4: Managing and Growing an Entrepreneurial Firm. p. 392. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 17, 2012.
  11. ^ Gara, Antoine (November 4, 2011). "Dippin' Dots Melts: Deals to Watch". TheStreet.
  12. ^ "Dippin' Dots deal is done". The Oklahoman. May 18, 2012.
  13. ^ Ewen, Beth (July 3, 2014). "Doc Popcorn Scooped Up by Dippin' Dots". Franchise Times. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  14. ^ "J&J Snack Foods to acquire Dippin' Dots". FoodBusinessNews.net. Retrieved May 23, 2022.
  15. ^ "J&J Snack Foods Corp. Announces Closing of Dippin' Dots Acquisition". GlobeNewswire (Press release). June 21, 2022. Retrieved July 30, 2022.
  16. ^ "Dippin' Dots Presents Celebrity Grand Slam Paddle Jam to Benefit St Jude Children's Research Hospital – Red Carpet"[permanent dead link]. Life. May 10, 2007
  17. ^ Aubruner, Kathy (July 2003). "Connecting the Dots". Village News. Funworld Magazine. Archived from the original on August 1, 2012.
  18. ^ a b Demetrakakes, Pan (August 19, 2020). "Freezing the Pandemic Blues". FoodProcessing.com. Retrieved January 10, 2021.
  19. ^ "DD Cryogenics - About Us". ddcryogenics.com. DD Cryogenics. August 17, 2020. Archived from the original on January 12, 2021. Retrieved January 10, 2021.
  20. ^ "Dippin' Dots Debuts New Manufacturing Facility, Spurred by Growth of Cryogenic Division" (Press release). PRNewswire. August 6, 2020. Retrieved January 10, 2021.
  21. ^ a b "Services". DD Cryogenics. 2021. Archived from the original on January 13, 2021. Retrieved January 10, 2021.
  22. ^ "The Unexpected Companies Involved in COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution". globaledge.msu.edu. January 14, 2021. Retrieved February 2, 2024.
  23. ^ Rosenthal, Abigail (December 22, 2020). "Dippin' Dots is the new unlikely hero of the coronavirus pandemic". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved December 23, 2020.

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