Mustard Shortage Could Mean 4th of July Disaster for Hot Dog Fans

Supplies of America’s favorite hot dog topping may not cut the mustard this 4th of July because of something so hot.

Climate change has reduced yields in major mustard seed producing countries.

The seed is essential for the condiment that adorns the top of the fast food favorite eaten by millions as people celebrate Independence Day.

But there may not be enough yellow seed for everyone due to the halving of mustard seed yields in France last year, while in the world’s second largest producer, Canada, there there was a drop of 28%.

French supermarket shelves are running out of condiments with one of its biggest producers, Reine de Dijon, blaming a wet winter and cold spell in early April 2021 for a 52% drop in its harvest, The Guardian reported.

An image of a hot dog. Mustard seed shortages could impact the supply of mustard in the United States before July 4, when the condiment is in high demand for hot dogs.
Getty Images

Group chief executive Luc Vandermaesen told the publication that a “heat dome” in Canada in early July 2021 had “really dried up crops”.

Christophe Planes, commercial director of Reine de Dijon, told the France24 media “we are in a crisis that we have not seen for 25 years”.

According to AGCanada, the agricultural publications network, mustard plants that typically sprouted eight to 10 seeds per pod were dripping only four to six seeds this year.

Added to supply problems is the war between Russia and Ukraine, which are the world’s third and fifth largest producers.

The shortage could prompt Americans to turn to other condiments for their hot dogs, 150 million of which are eaten on average each July 4th.

The connection between the holidays and the hot dog is believed to have been inspired by Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating contest in Coney Island, New York, which this year is expected to draw a crowd of 35,000 and millions more on ESPN.

The business began in 1916, when Polish immigrant Nathan Handwerker opened a nickel hot dog stand. The company’s website says four immigrants first held the contest to settle a dispute over who was the most patriotic.

But former Nathan president Wayne Norbitz told The Associated Press the story was a concocted public relations stunt in the 1970s, in which some of the contests were on Memorial Day and the holiday. work.

It wasn’t until the 1980s that Nathan’s pageant was held regularly on Independence Day and with it successfully linked food to the holidays.

However, a shortage of mustard could be a problem this holiday given that it’s the most popular hot dog topping, preferred by 68% of consumers according to the National Hotdog and Sausage Council (NHSC).

This is compared to 61% of Americans who prefer ketchup, chili (30%) or cheese (29%). Eating a hot dog with relish, preferred by 41% of Americans, could take on a more literal meaning this year.

Newsweek contacted the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council for comment.