French consumers are faced with an unpleasant sight in supermarkets: no mustard. In one year, its price has risen by more than 9%, according to the specialized research institute IRI. It is one of the 5 consumer products whose price has increased the most in April 2022 compared to April 2021. France is struggling to produce seeds and to get supplies.
A severe drought in Canada, crop failures in France and the war in Ukraine have combined to reduce the mustard seed supply available to producers.
As a result, the price of mustard has risen by 10% in France, and some stores are struggling to restock jars.
Canada, from which France imports much of its mustard seed, was hit by a drought last year that caused crop yields to drop in the agricultural west of the country.
Not all droughts are due to climate change, but excess heat in the atmosphere is drawing more moisture from the earth and making droughts worse.
The world has already warmed by about 1.2°C since the beginning of the industrial era, and temperatures will continue to rise if governments around the world do not sharply reduce emissions.
In France, domestic mustard seed crops have been below expectations for three consecutive years, most recently due to a wet winter and cold spring.
Luc Vondermaeson, general manager of La Reine de Dijon, France’s third-largest mustard manufacturer, told the BBC that production was 20 to 25 percent below normal.
It was still possible to find seeds in January and February, he said, but availability had since declined.