The drought in the Prairies, one of the causes of the shortage of mustard in France

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Drought in the Prairies, one of the causes of the shortage of mustard in France

Canada is the world's second largest producer of mustard seeds (Archives).

A staple of French cuisine, Dijon mustard has become hard to find on grocery store shelves in France. This shortage could be explained by a lower production of mustard seed in Canada, weighed down in large part by the drought that raged last year in the Prairies.

Thanks in particular to Alberta and Saskatchewan, Canada is the world's second largest producer of mustard seeds, with a market share of 57% of exports. As a result, supply from several countries is closely tied to Canadian production.

A large part of the Canadian harvest was however destroyed due to the drought that hit the main mustard seed producing regions in 2021, according to Luc Vandermaesen, director general of Reine de Dijon, a French mustard producer.

This had the consequence of causing a shortage that the French market had not known for at least 50 years, he added.

In an interview at l' CBC show The Homestretch, he testified that French shelves are almost empty of mustard, a product of which each Frenchman buys about a kilo a year.

It's very new to face such a shortage of a product typical of French cuisine, he says. The seeds come mainly from Canada. We grow a few seeds in France, but the quantities are not enough to cover all the needs of the French sector. Mr. Vandermaesen added that the last French harvests of this product have been poor, due in part to the freezing winter the country has experienced.

Assistant professor at the University of Calgary's Haskayne School of Business and supply chain expert Serasu Duran believes that the mustard shortage is likely to persist in part because of the fragility of supply chains. , which have been badly affected by the pandemic.

It will still take time before these problems can be resolved and we are back to a chain of services. fully functional supply. We can't blame everything on COVID-19, but it has done a lot of damage to supply chains that were already quite vulnerable, she argues.

According to Serasu Duran, Supply chain management that once focused on efficiency is beginning to take resilience issues into account.

For his part, Luc Vandermaesen predicts that this year's Canadian crop of brown mustard seeds should arrive in Europe by the end of November or December. We will still have a shortage until then.

With information from David Bell

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