Question: I haven’t been able to buy mustard for weeks, all the local supermarkets seem to have sold out, is there a shortage?
After recent limits on purchases of cooking oil caused by unnecessary panic-buying, now another staple of French cuisine is hard to come by – mustard.
The reason appears to be a ‘perfect storm’ of events in the world’s three largest mustard-producing countries; Canada, Russia and France.
Canada, the world’s largest mustard producer which provides 80 percent of the seeds that France imports, was hit by an “extreme heat dome” in July 2021, that halved the harvest, prompting the country to limit exports, Michel Liardet, president of Européenne de condiments, a company that specialises in the manufacture and packaging of mustard, told Le Point.
The world’s second largest producer, Russia, has had embargoes imposed on exports following its invasion of Ukraine.
As a result, grain prices increased fivefold between April 2021 and April 2022, while the price of packaged mustard has risen by nine percent over the same period, according to the market research institute IRI.
The mustard shortage has prompted Liardet to call for an increase in French production “in order to be less dependent on imports”.
However, harvests in France have declined in recent years, in part because of a ban on the spraying of pesticides on seeds.
It has lead to empty shelves in some supermarkets, while others have imposed limits on mustard-buying.
Shopping in France ahahahaha pic.twitter.com/hhV8FQjAGf
— Franglaise (@frangla) June 2, 2022