You may have heard of Dippin’ Dots, the sweet ice cream pellets that many people now enjoy. Originally, they were not actually invented by an ice cream company or even someone in the food industry. The sweet treat, believe it or not, was invented by the microbiologist Curt Jones, who was working on a project in 1987 for a biotech company in Kentucky. His job at the time was to figure out more efficient forms of feed for farm animals. Jones eventually came upon the idea that freezing already existing cow feed at 350 degrees below zero would form little cow feed pellets. It may seem off, but cow feed was what led Jones to his discovery. Jones happened to be an avid ice cream lover. When he finished his farm animal feeding project, he took his idea of turning farm animal feed into pellets and applied it to ice cream. When Jones flash froze the ice cream he ended up with tiny pellets just like he did in cow feed. Thus the sweet pellets we now know as Dippin Dots were born.
Jones was born and raised on a farm near Grand Chain, Illinois. Even as a kid, Jones was a bit of a businessman. At a young age, Jones had begun a small business by fixing radios, tending to other peoples' barns, and sometimes even broom making with his grandpa’s tools and equipment. After graduating high school, Jones went to college at Shawnee community college and received a BA and a MA in microbiology. After Jones established the company, he realized that the treat could not be sold in grocery stores due to the fact that they would melt in the freezers because they were not cold enough to house the frozen treat. So, Jones decided to sell the treat at fairs and other events like baseball games so the Dippin Dots could still be sold to the public. In 2002 the company started selling both the ice cream and their merchandise online. In 2002 the company was also said to be the fastest growing franchise and was voted number one for new franchise company. These accomplishments may seem small compared to the idea of ice cream pellets, but for the company these were huge! So whether or not you think this sweet treat is the ice cream of the future or not, you have to admit their past is pretty interesting.
Story by Stella Coffey
Sources: history.com and CNN