September 25, 2022

Seeds of change for Dijon mustard amid scarcity

France’s favorite condiment, Dijon mustard, is tough to seek out nowadays, with indicators on grocery…

France’s favorite condiment, Dijon mustard, is tough to seek out nowadays, with indicators on grocery store cabinets warning the fortunate few who spot jars that they will solely take one dwelling.

A heatwave throughout the ocean in Canada, the world’s high mustard seed producer, is in charge for the drastic scarcity that has dragged on for months in France.

Canada provides round 80 % of the mustard seeds utilized by French makers of the spicy condiment, the remaining coming principally from Burgundy, the area that surrounds Dijon.

However a drought slashed the Canadian harvest by half in 2021.

Now French mustard makers are aiming to spice up manufacturing at dwelling in Burgundy.

“It’s essential to extend that share so we are able to face climate dangers that differ from one nation to the opposite,” Luc Vandermaesen, president of the Burgundy Mustard Affiliation, an trade group, informed AFP.

“We will’t put all our eggs in a single basket,” stated Vandermaesen, who can also be the chief government of France’s third largest mustard maker, Reine de Dijon (Queen of Dijon).

Mustard makers have provided to pay extra for Burgundy mustard seeds to encourage native manufacturing. OLIVIER CHASSIGNOLE / AFP

Double the value

The Dijon area has been well-known for its mustard seeds because the Center Ages, however manufacturing has been decimated by pests as chemical substances used to kill them have been banned.

Output was divided by three between 2017 and 2021, falling from 12,000 tonnes to 4,000 tonnes.

In June, native producers had been urged to greater than double the world planted with mustard seeds to 10,000 hectares.

“The Canadian issues revived the significance of the Burgundy sector,” stated Fabrice Genin, president of the Affiliation of Mustard Seeds Producers of Burgundy.

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As an incentive, mustard makers agreed to pay 2,000 euros ($2,008) per tonne for Burgundy seeds in 2023, up from 1,300 euros final 12 months and greater than double what they paid in 2021.

The attraction seems to have labored, with 10,000 hectares deliberate for mustard seeds, stated Jerome Gervais, a mustard knowledgeable on the chamber of agriculture in Burgundy’s Cote d’Or division.

The variety of seed producers jumped from 160 to greater than 500, he added.

“It’s greater than hoped,” Gervais stated.


Francois Detain, a farmer in Agencourt, gave up mustard seed manufacturing in 2019 after his fields had been wrecked by a dry spring and an insect infestation.

However the worth provided for mustard seeds allowed him to carry them again, regardless that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has made fertilisers costlier.

A drop within the costs of grains and oilseeds has additionally made mustard seeds extra enticing.

“It’s kind of a revenge for us to have the ability to replant an area crop,” Detain stated.

Delivery prices — which have soared because of provide chain bottlenecks since Covid pandemic lockdowns had been lifted — have additionally given an edge to Burgundy seeds over these from Canada.

By subsequent 12 months, Burgundy ought to be producing 15,000 tonnes of mustard seeds, assembly 40 % of the wants of mustard makers, Gervais stated.

“(Retailer) cabinets ought to be replenished in October,” Vandermaesen stated.

“The scarcity will likely be fully over in early 2023. We’re very assured for Christmas.”