Ten years ago, microbiologist Curt Jones was making ice cream when an idea struck him: He could develop his own ice cream product using cryogenic technology. "I knew a way I could get a quicker freeze so [the ice cream] wouldn't get large ice crystals," says Jones. "About six months later, I decided to quit my job and go into business."
Dippin' Dots, the little flavored ice cream and yogurt pellets that are flash-frozen using Jones' patented technique are sold nationwide. There are 140 dealers in about 350 locations. The 20 standard flavors include Banana Split, Strawberry Cheesecake Yogurt and Peanut Butter Chip; there are several seasonal flavors, too.
Start-up costs begin at $10,000; the company meets with potential dealers at its Paducah, Kentucky, headquarters to familiarize them with the program.
Is Jones looking to put the freeze on traditional icy confections? "Absolutely not," he says. "I really like ice cream and Popsicles. We're just hoping we can offer a product that gives consumers another choice."