Canadian mustard farmers relish price spike as supply squeezed

Thu Oct 22, 2015 7:00am EDT
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* Canada's crop smallest in 9 years

* Mustard buyers paying highest spot prices in years

* Bigger plantings needed to replenish supplies

* Spillover effect on wasabi for sushi lovers

By Rod Nickel and Luc Cohen

WINNIPEG, Manitoba/NEW YORK, Oct 22 (Reuters) - From Canada to India, there is a squeeze on mustard that has put producers in a pickle.

Prices of the yellow condiment dabbed on hot dogs and pretzels have leaped to their highest level in seven years this autumn as growers in Western Canada, which supplies three-quarters of the world's traded mustard seed, turn in their smallest crop in nine years.

In India, the price of a contract representing both mustard seed and rapeseed, related crops grown in the same areas, has surged by a fifth to record highs in the past three weeks over fears that unseasonably hot weather will prevent sowing that would normally begin later this month.

The higher prices threaten to drive up costs for Kraft Heinz Co, maker of Grey Poupon, and Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc, maker of French's, which hold more than 40 percent of the market share for North America's fourth-favorite condiment by sales according to some estimates.   Continued...