Is there a mustard shortage? What impact has drought had on production of Dijon and how long will it last
UK holidaymakers heading to France are being advised to take their own mustard with them this summer
France is currently in the grip of a mustard shortage, with the beloved condiment proving hard to find on supermarket shelves.
The situation is described as “pretty bad” with “retail prices up as much as 25 per cent.”
Here is everything you need to know about the mustard shortage in France
Why is there a mustard shortage in France?
The mustard shortage in France is thought to be caused by a combination of drought impacting the growth of the mustard seeds and supply issues stemming from the war in Ukraine.
Whilst the regions of Burgundy and Dijon are famous for their mustard, France imports the majority of their mustard seeds from Canada.
However, Canada has been hit by unseasonably hot weather and a drought has collapsed production.
In France, mustard seed production has been steadily falling after crops were damaged by the wet winter and cold spring temperatures.
The war in Ukraine is also having a knock on effect, as France cannot source mustard seeds from Russia and is unable to get product from Ukraine.
Mustard seeds are needed to make the condiment, without them you cannot have mustard.
Luc Vandermaesen, head of the Mustard Association of Burgundy told CBC News in Canada that “It’s pretty bad. The shelves are pretty empty.”
He also explained to The New York Times that he was getting up to 50 calls a day from people trying to find a jar.
He added: “The main issue is climate change and the result is this shortage.
“We can’t respond to the orders we get, and retail prices are up as much as 25 per cent, reflecting the soaring cost of seeds.”
What type of mustard is affected?
The producers affected by the mustard shortage are those in Burgundy and Dijon who rely on imported seeds to make their product.
Local French producers who use French grown seeds have not been hit by the shortage and are finding their mustard is in high demand.
Mustard producer Ghislain Durand, who lives in the town of Castelnaudary in the south of France, usually takes July off for his summer holidays, but this year has seen an influx of people wanting his mustard.
Speaking to CNN, Durand said: “I need to keep working because of this mustard shortage, because I’ve got an order surplus that wasn’t expected, and I need to be able to make the most of this situation.
“It’s very beneficial for my business, I must admit. For the past four months, the increase has been so violent and quick that it’s hard to follow.”
The businessman has seen his profits quadruple, with tourists who used to buy one or two pots of the stuff deciding to stock up.
Durand said: “Now, they grab about ten! They see mustard and they throw themselves at it.”
When will the mustard shortage end?
The shortage is not expected to end anytime soon.
Producers in Dijon and Burgundy have already harvested this year’s mustard seed crop which should arrive in factories by Autumn.
The harvest in Canada falls later in the year and it is not yet known if the crops have recovered from the drought.
Supplies of mustard are not predicted to return to normal until at least 2023.