France is Europe’s leading mustard producer – a beacon of French gastronomy23-09-2016
Mustard is one of the hallmarks of France’s culinary heritage, akin with French cheese and its famous vineyards. Its success in export markets is increasing.
Mustard and Dijon go hand in hand. Back in the middle ages, the Dukes of Burgundy sent entire barrels of the condiment to all the great Royal courts in Europe and as a result, Burgundy made it one of its signature specialities. Made using brown mustard seeds (Brassica Juncea), vinegar, salt, citric acid and a small amount of water, it is this recipe that sets it apart from other mustards.
The revival of Burgundy’s mustard production
For many years Burgundy was famous for its production of mustard with a variety of added natural aromas. After the Second World War, production fell dramatically and after years of absence in the fields of Burgundy, mustard plants began to flourish once again, largely thanks to the Association of Burgundy mustard seed producers (APGMB). Realising that the tradition of mustard in Burgundy was on the wane, farmers and mustard producers joined forces to breathe new life into the industry. The sector was even awarded a quality label, with a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) for Moutarde de Bourgogne.
Export success for Fallot Mustard
The Edmond Fallot mustard company is renowned for its PGI mustard and has been instrumental in the condiment’s’ renaissance the world over. Located in Beaune and dating back to 1840, the family business is one of the oldest mustard makers in France. “French mustards from Dijon are flavour enhancers,” explains Marc Désarménien, CEO of the Fallot mustard company. The third most important condiment after salt and pepper, mustard is a true French speciality, making France Europe’s leading producer, ahead of the British and Germans.
Marc DESARMENIEN, source: Edmond Fallot
“It is also important to note that France produces 85,000 tonnes of mustard every year, a figure that is constantly rising. Consumption figures are also increasing, by 2-3% year on year” according to Marc Désarménien, who continues, “It’s a premium condiment. It works well on the side with the simplest or most traditional dishes or even as an ingredient in the signature dishes made by top chefs.”
Mustard – a major global trend
If the French are keen on this product, they are not on their own. “We currently export more than 50% of our production to 65 countries,” explains Fallot’s CEO.
“The U.S., Canada, Germany and Japan are our major customers”.
To grow his market, Marc Désarménien relies on trade fairs but also collaborates with other companies. “We have formed a kind of club via Vive la Bourgogne, an association that promotes regional produce. We go to a number of fairs together and this helps sell our products abroad.”
Source: Edmond Fallot
Relatively low cost, natural and easy to use in the kitchen, mustard has made its name across the world as a major trend among condiments. Diversification through flavoured mustards such as gingerbread or cherry has contributed greatly to raising awareness. “The product enjoys high spontaneous awareness. Added to that is the prestigious touch of Made in France for food products. We focus on the authentic element of our recipes, with ingredients sourced essentially from the Burgundy region and also using artisan techniques.” underlines Marc Désarménien. The positive association with the most prestigious French chefs greatly inspire customer confidence in foreign markets. The future of exports lies in the east. “Already hugely popular in Japan, China and Hong Kong, we are currently breaking through the Vietmanise market,” concludes the head of the Fallot company. Dijon mustard has a bright future with French and international consumers alike.
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