How Dippin’ Dots Saved the World

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(photo credits to Curt Jones, photo courtesy of Keansburg Amusement Park)

Dippin’ Dot’s iconic logo for their beaded ice cream, yogurt, sherbert, or flavored ice.

Ice cream, America’s favorite dessert, is nearly perfect, but one major struggle is scooping the ice-cold ice cream without bending the spoon. Don’t worry! Dippin’ dots reinvented ice cream so that no hardcore scooping is required. For about thirty years, Curt Jones (a microbiologist and founder) has been using cryogenic technology to create beaded ice cream that has been sold in over 100 venues. 

“I like how the dots are small and flavorful. Each dot is like its own ice cream,” said junior Bryson Miller.

Junior Mary Jensen disagrees, “Their ice cream is very overrated. I did not like the texture and it doesn’t taste anything like ice cream.” 

To keep up with the demand, Dippin’ Dots creates over 2.2 billion dots each day at their plant in Kentucky that uses an ice cream mixture combined with liquid nitrogen for less than a second per dot and flash freezing at -320 degrees Fahrenheit to bring you this iconic ice cream. 

To transport Dippin’ Dots, the dots have to be frozen in freezers that are as cold as -112 degrees Fahrenheit. Transporting the dots can be risky, but Dippin’ Dots uses dry ice to ensure its quality. If there are transit delays, the company has a third party dry ice supplier restock the delivery van with dry ice. However, Dot’s Chief Development Officer admits that some dots can’t be saved and a small percentage of dots are wasted.  

Because the freezers are so good at transporting dots, many Covid-19 vaccine distributors want to use these same freezers. 

“ I think that it is pretty smart because the demand for Dippin Dots right now is probably pretty low and the demand for the vaccine is very high,” said junior Leah Johnson.

“It’s an efficient way to transport them because the dippin’ dots have to be stored in really cold temperatures,” said junior Miller.  

However, these industrial freezers have a limited supply. Jones states that one major problem with this idea is that the vaccine companies don’t want to buy the freezers, just rent them. Jones doesn’t feel comfortable renting the freezers to vaccine distributors and using the same freezers for dot consumption after Covid-19. 

The two major vaccines that need the coldest settings are Pfizer and Moderna. The Pfizer vaccine needs to be stored at -94 degrees Fahrenheit to remain effective. Moderna’s vaccine requires -4 degrees. Both of these vaccines use a newer, more advanced vaccine technology with mRNA. mRNA is used in our bodies to create copies of proteins capable of fighting off the coronavirus. Many characteristics of RNA make it more fragile than DNA. RNA is made of ribose rather than deoxyribose which causes the RNA to have a shorter shelf life when enzymes break it down. DNA holds a double helix shape which makes it more stable compared to RNA’s single strand. RNA uses a special nucleotide that DNA does not contain called uracil that helps detect viruses but sticks out.

Dippin’ Dots isn’t the only company that has these limited freezers. Chapman’s ice cream and a Health Unit have collaborated to buy two freezers solely for vaccines. Dr. Arra, the chief executive order of the Health Unit, explains that these freezers are crucial for fast transportation. Chapman employees are training the distributors on how to handle dry ice to ensure the safety of all employees.

COVID-19 has shown how advanced technology has become. From new advancements in vaccines to freezers, all developers are coming together to defeat COVID-19. I guess ice cream can fix all our problems.