If you’re in France looking for traditional Dijon “mustard” to complement your dinner recipe, you’ve got a problem.
The country is having to adapt to a continuing shortage of hot mustard, including the Amora and Maille brands owned by consumer staples giant Unilever, which has left store shelves empty and French consumers frustrated.
Grocers across the country have scrambled to source the much-loved condiment, which the French typically use to season meats like duck confit, to create dressings for salads, or to make fresh mayonnaise.
The shortage is the ripple effect of a heat wave and resulting crop damage last year in Canada, which supplies around 80% of the mustard seed used in France. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine also made it more difficult to find alternative supplies.
“As more and more people become aware of this problem, French consumers have increased the demand for mustard and stocked up just in case, stimulating out-of-stock situations,” according to Sébastien Eteve, team leader. analytics at NielsenIQ.
Monoprix, a banner owned by grocer Casino Guichard-Perrachon, confirmed that shortages are impacting deliveries and can be seen in its stores, adding that suppliers are imposing quotas to prevent retailers from being completely sold out or do not store.
The head of the mustard association of Burgundy, the region home to the town that gives the condiment its name, told French media that the product should start arriving again in November, with further improvement in early 2023 when the Canadian crop will be delivered. Luc Vandermaesen, who is also director of Reine de Dijon, however told Le Monde newspaper that the situation would remain tense until 2024.