Dijon mustard stocks running out amid climate crisis and Ukraine war

French mustard manufacturers are struggling to get hold of seeds from Canada and Ukraine

Samuel Webb
Thursday 19 May 2022 17:25 BST
Mustard is in short supply in France
Mustard is in short supply in France (AFP via Getty Images)
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France is facing mustard shortages because of climate-related weather conditions and the war in Ukraine.

The ‘heat dome’ that hit Canada in 2021 and a cold snap in France the same year has seen the condiment in short supply on the shelves of supermarkets.

Luc Vandermaesen, managing director of Reine de Dijon and president of the Burgundy Mustard Association, told industry news outlet L’Usine Nouvelle that the war in Ukraine has restricted seed supply because both Ukraine and Russia are major exporters.

“The Ukraine, without being a big producer, represented a backup plan,” he said. We were counting on it to make the connection with the next harvest, but this solution fell through.”

“We have no guarantee or visibility on supplies beyond the fortnight.”

According to newspaper Sud Ouest, seed production in Canada fell from 130,000 tonnes in 2020 to only 99,000 in 2021, a decrease of 28%, because of drought. The price per tonne is nearly 1,700 euros (£1440), double compared to the same period last year.

The 2019 ban of certain pesticides are also a factor as it is difficult to stop pests from eating crops. The Association of Mustard Seed Producers in Burgundy, French mustard production is greatly slowed down by this problem.

Inflation is another issue. According to French statistic organisation INSEE , inflation should exceed per cent in May and reach 5. per cent in June. The repercussions on the food sector are substantial. Mustard is among the five consumer products whose price increased the most.

The British Retail Consortium, which represents UK retailers, told The Guardian the impact on British mustard supply is “very limited at the moment”.

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