Dijon mustard supply secure for 2023, for those who can afford inflation-punished product
30 Sep 2022 --- The French will be able to degust their favorite condiment as early as this Christmas, after supply shortages have left some restaurants and avid consumers out of stock. However, those who wish to refill their shelves with the condiment will have to foot the bill as inflation has infected costs across the mustard supply chain.
“The situation is slowly improving but it will remain tense until the end of the year 2022 and the arrival in European harbors of the Canadian crop. Restrictions [in France] should end by Christmas 2022 or early 2023,” Luc Vandermaesen, managing director of Reine de Dijon, tells FoodIngredientsFirst.
French supermarkets are applying a ‘one bottle per customer’ limit, with rationing starting months ago, as last year’s harvest was subpar and no carryover stocks could be used.
Shortages and production costs have also elevated the price of the condiment between 15% and 75%, with prospects of further price increases.
“Prices will increase again in 2023 due to higher seed prices, higher packaging materials, and higher energy costs,” highlights Vandermaesen.
A promising 2023 harvest?
To proactively increase harvest areas, seed prices have doubled, which has encouraged farmers to grow mustard fields.
“The number of producers in Burgundy (France) will rise this autumn for next year’s crop. Furthermore, prices offered for the 2023 crop are more than double the price of the 2021 crop,” explains Vandermaesen.
Even amid one of the hottest and driest summers in the Northern Hemisphere, the mustard crop has resisted.
“The French harvest was not affected by the heat wave, and the crop is 50% higher than harvest 2021. The harvest in Canada looked promising, but we have no information on available volume yet, as the harvest is just finishing these days,” he explains.
Localized shortages remain
French citizens consume 1 kg of mustard per year, according to Vabdermaesen, most of it being of the Dijon kind, the one under supply constraints.
This consumption of the Canadian-French variety explains the domestic shortages in France, while other countries’ stockpiles have not experienced similar complications.
Adding to the shortages, price speculation might have fueled some supply squeezes as some farmers waited for higher prices to release their produce.
While consumers in France will have to prepare to pay more for mustard, the country’s food inflation remains lower than in surrounding nations. Food inflation reached 7.7% this August, considerably lower than Germany, which yesterday revealed that the country’s food inflation is at 18.7%.
Other neighboring countries are also suffering from higher food inflation. Spain is at 13.8%, Netherlands at 13%, Belgium at 10.8% and Italy at 10.6%.
The inflation data of mustard in Germany, which suggested a rapidly accelerating trend until April – in February, prices were 6.2% higher than pre-pandemic levels, in March 8% and April 10.6% – has kept accelerating until reaching 30.7% in August, according to the German Federal Statistics Office.
A 20% rise in mustard prices since April means consumers have had to face increased costs when purchasing traditional dishes at celebrations like Oktoberfest or summer barbecues.
German mustard prices have been heavily affected by the Ukraine war as it imports 79.5% of its mustard seeds from Russia (51.9%) and Ukraine (27.6%).
By Marc Cervera
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