Why you won't see Mrs. Dash on store shelves anymore

If any spouse could spice up a marriage for the long haul, you'd probably expect it to be Mrs. Dash. A seasoned veteran of matrimony and mastication, she began adding salt-free flair to meals in the 1980s. As described by Food and Wine contributor Jelisa Castrodale, Mrs. Dash was the brainchild of Alberto-Culver marketing exec Carol Bernick, who was also the mind behind butter substitute Molly McButter. As the story goes, Bernick birthed the idea while trying to conceive of a way to flavor family meals without using salt.

For people worried about consuming too much salt, pairing Mrs. Dash with their meals might have seemed like a match made in heaven despite the fact that she was trying like hell to keep people away from heaven by extending their lives. But Mrs. Dash's marriage must have felt like an infernal mismatch over time because, as Castrodale joked, the seasoning apparently got divorced after 37 years of wedlock. In February 2020, that news broke that Mrs. Dash would not only be salt-free but spouse-free and was being rebranded as just Dash.

A Dash of change

Did irreconcilable differences leave Dash feeling salty, raising her blood pressure to unhealthy levels? Did she have a stroke of inspiration that drove her to break free from the ball and chain? Well, not exactly. In a press release published by PR Newswire, Julie Gould, the marketing director for Dash's parent company, B&G Foods, claimed, "The updated name captures the salt-free seasoning line's ability to quickly and easily add salt-free flavor to any dish." 

Is that a diplomatic way of saying that marriage takes the spice of life? Admittedly, that interpretation is probably hard to swallow. But it's also unclear how divorcing Dash from the first half of her name conveys versatility and quickness any more than the previous incarnation. But it wouldn't be the first time a famous brand truncated its moniker to convey a message. In 2018, the company people once knew and – let's be honest – still know as Dunkin' Donuts dropped the "Donuts" from its name like a hot potato. At the time the company explained, "By simplifying and modernizing our name, while still paying homage to our heritage, we have an opportunity to create an incredible new energy for Dunkin'" (via CBS News). That decision was arguably more baffling. Nothing about Dunkin' screams "energy." At least "dash" inherent;y communicates quickness.

Don't think of it as losing a spouse but gaining an expert

It may seem like the seasoning formerly known as Mrs. Dash lost a part of herself as well as a life partner. But in the process, she found joy, namely health expert Joy Bauer. You may recognize Bauer as the bestselling author of 14 books, as the host of the NBC show Health + Happiness, or her "Joy Fit Club" segment on the TODAY show. But she is also slated to lend her expertise to the Dash brand by sharing recipes that incorporate the salt-free seasoning.

The new name also comes with a new logo and a new flavor: Everything But the Salt. A salt-free take on everything bagels, the new seasoning has a name that echoes the tenor of the Dash rebrand, which will apparently have everything but the "Mrs." As B&G Foods wrote in a Twitter post, "There's no need to miss the Mrs. You can still create the same delicious meals in a flash with the amazing flavor of salt-free Dash!" In fact, you almost can't miss the "Mrs." due to its heavy online presence. Dash still goes by "Mrs. Dash on Twitter. The website name remains mrsdash.com. The brand's Facebook page is still called "Mrs. Dash" as well.

Was dropping the 'Mrs.' a mistake?

The name change hasn't entirely been greeted with open arms. While there wasn't a huge outpouring of upset on Twitter, there was a trickle – or at least a few drops of vitriol from a handful of detractors. One user urged, "Stick to Mrs. Dash" while another mockingly responded, "Brilliant millennial marketing department scheme. They don't know that Dash is a detergent. Sprinkle a little soap on your food." Clearly, they were determined to dash the company's hopes for enthusiastic reactions.

Of course, depending on whom you ask, this branding bombshell is more of a dud. The author of What Great Brands Do, Denise Lee Yohn, told Ad Age, "I doubt the 'Mrs.' part of the name had any impact on the product's appeal so I doubt dropping it will either. It is more important for the company to raise awareness of the product's salt-free content, promote its partnership with Joy Bauer, and step up its innovation."