Seed shortage could weigh on mustard supply

Your favorite punchy yellow burger condiment might be in short supply this summer.

The bleak seed crops of 2021 have turned into paltry supplies of mustard in France. And US grocery store shelves could be next, according to The Guardian.

With Canada being the world’s largest producer of mustard seed, very hot weather in the southern region of the country earlier this year is cited as a big part of the problem. According to AG Canada, mustard plants that typically produced eight to 10 seeds in a pod only produced four to six seeds this year. The bad harvests caused by the bad climate in France only aggravated the problem of the reserve.

Reine de Dijon is one of the largest mustard producers in France. Christophe Planes, the company’s sales director, told French state-run news agency France24 that the current shortage is unprecedented.

“We are in a crisis that we have not seen for 25 years. The price of seeds has gone up three or four times, and maybe five times soon,” Planes told the outlet. “And, in addition, there is no supply. The scarcity is such that we have a potential 50% decrease in seed…so our production is down 50%.

The ongoing war in Ukraine has also adversely affected the mustard supply chain. In 2020, Russia and Ukraine were respectively ranked third and fifth exporters of mustard seeds in the world.

Mustard isn’t the only condiment consumers may see less of on shelves this summer.

In April, Sriracha maker Huy Fong Foods revealed that weather conditions had depleted its supply of the hot sauce. A letter sent to wholesale buyers that month cited a shortage of chili pepper inventory as a problem caused by weather-related issues.

“Currently, due to weather conditions affecting the quality of chili peppers, we are facing a more serious shortage of chili peppers,” the letter said. “Unfortunately this is beyond our control and without this essential ingredient we cannot produce any of our products.”

About Catherine Sturm

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