Oh-oh, Dijon mustard at risk
Foodies beware: the tiny brown seeds used to make high-end Dijon mustard are in short supply and getting more expensive.
Canada, the world’s biggest grower, has been ravaged by drought in its southern Prairie provinces, cutting the harvest of all mustard-crop varieties by half to the smallest in 11 years. Among the hardest hit are brown mustard seeds, boosting the ingredient cost of the spicy condiment favoured by chefs as well as shoppers of brands like Grey Poupon or Maille Dijon Originale.
While Americans eat a lot more yellow mustard on hot dogs or mixed into salad dressings, European countries are big consumers of the brown variety. Tighter supplies of seeds from Canada — also the world’s biggest mustard-seed exporter — could hurt food makers in the U.S., the top buyer, as well as major importers including Belgium, France, Japan and Senegal.
“There is no substitute for brown mustard in making Dijon,” said Walter Dyck, manager of the mustard seed division at Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin-based Olds Products Co., which is the second-largest manufacturer in North America.
“The price — it can move higher quite quickly when supplies are tight,” Dyck said from Lethbridge, Alta. “Everybody that needs it has to have it.”
Production of all varieties of Canadian mustard seed tumbled to 114,900 metric tons this season from 235,600 tons in 2016.