15 July 2022. It was only yesterday that the country was in great celebratory mood for Independence day. Only a day later, the disappearance of Dijon mustard from the shelves of supermarkets has turned those celebratory feelings into feelings of outrage and despair. What is going on with this mustard shortage.
French mustard is the basis of french cuisine, one could say irreplacable. Not only is it added as a condiment to meals like steak tartare or frites, it is also the basis for many sauces and essential element in various recipes. Rémoulade for example. A french sauce used for various seafood dishes. The average French consumer consumes 2.2 pounds of Mustard each year, making them the largest consumer. Though the shortage could be expected in other countries, the shortage in France is unique.
The worlds crises and a dependancy on Canada
The Covid crisis, global warming, the war in Europe and rising costs all play a part in this fiasco that is the mustard shortage. French producers are short on the brown seeds that are used to make the mustard. Most of the brown seeds come from Canada, and the recent heatwave has destroyed crops and slashed the production of the brown seeds by 50%. This is now visible in shops accross France. In most stores mustard shelves have already emptied. Where there is any mustard, some signs say that sales are “limited to one pot per person.
The war in Ukraine has complicated things further. Russia as well as Ukraine are large producers of yellow mustard seeds, the main ingredient of milder mustards. These are now also more difficult to find in shops. The pressure on the market has caused the prices to spike.
New York Times