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Case Analysis-



Prior to 1988, ice cream came in one form and one form only. However, with the founding of Dippin’ Dots Ice Cream by Curt Jones, the future of ice cream had arrived. Jones had found a way of flash-freezing ice cream into small, BB-sized balls and by doing so locked out any trapped air or ice that is normally found in regular ice cream. This gave rise to a frozen dessert that was much more intense in flavor and richness than traditional ice cream. Though business was off to a slow start due to lack of financing and marketing resources, Dippin’ Dots is now primarily a franchising company and in 2005 has reached its peak with over 630 franchises nationwide.

Analysis and Problem Identification

In order to produce Dippin’ Dots ice cream, flavored liquid cream had to be frozen with liquid nitrogen at below -325 degrees to produce the bead or dot shape. Once frozen, the dots are collected and either mixed with other flavors or packaged separately for delivery to retail locations. Thus, one of the primary problems of the Dippin’ Dots ice cream arises. In order to maintain the texture of the Dippin’ Dots ice cream, it had to be maintained and stored at least below -20 degrees Fahrenheit. Otherwise, the ice cream would melt, lose its texture and allow air or ice to accumulate in the storage containers. These factors would result in Dippin’ Dots Ice Cream to lose its uniqueness and thus, no longer differentiate their product from the competition.

Likewise, since their ice cream has to be constantly stored at temperatures below -20 degrees Fahrenheit, Dippin’ Dots Ice Cream cannot be stored in regular household or grocery refrigerators. According to their website, “In order to maintain the fun and unique qualities of Dippin' Dots products, we do not sell them at traditional ''take home'' outlets. Because of the sub-zero storage requirements, Dippin' Dots would begin to stick together in your home freezer.” Therefore, if one decided to buy the ice cream and willed for it to last longer than the time it takes for the product to melt, he would need to buy the proper refrigeration and storage equipment needed to maintain subzero temperatures. Such equipment could easily reach the $700-$5000 price range.

While overall ice cream sales in supermarkets were down 4.3 percent in the first half of 2006, the reduced-fat segment showed a 15 percent increase in sales during the same period. In fact, one of the ice cream companies that profited greatly on this new social trend, Dreyer’s, experienced a 100.8 percent increase in Slow Churned brand sales from 2005. Thus, the new challenge was to attract customers away from competitors by offering reduced-fat alternatives to the high fat



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