Condiments are getting more competitive. Does yellow mustard still cut the

Did Subway discontinue yellow mustard in Canada?

That’s the chatter online, as franchise owners on Redditcustomers on X and Facebook, and a notice sent out to parents of a school lunch program all allege the sandwich chain has stopped offering a beloved Canadian condiment.

On Thursday, some parents of children at a school in Kingston, Ont., received an email notice. 

“Subway will not be able to provide the ‘yellow mustard’ sauce option moving forward,” reads the note, sent out through Lunchbox, an app for ordering school lunches online, and obtained by CBC News.

“On behalf of Subway we are very sorry for this inconvenience and hope that we will have yellow mustard to offer in the new school year.”

The impacted Subway locations requested that Lunchbox contact parents and guardians, Marianne Kupina, marketing vice-president of KEV Group, which runs Lunchbox, told CBC News.

“I can confirm that some Subway locations in Ontario have advised us that there is a mustard shortage with their specific supplier,” she added in an emailed statement.

CBC News has reached out to Subway Global and North America for comment, which has yet to respond.

Sylvain Charlebois, senior director of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University in Halifax, said he thinks the company may be streamlining its menu as part of optimizing its operations.

The demand for plain yellow mustard is down amid an increasingly competitive sauce landscape, Charlebois said. 

“Think about it, 20 years ago it was just ketchup, mustard, relish and mayonnaise, basically. But since then you have … all sorts of sauces that have gotten some traction in recent years that make the classics kind of a lingering addition to the portfolio.”

An email that reads: Good morning. It has been brought to our attention that there is currently a  shortage of yellow mustard at many Subways across  the province. As such, Subway will not be able to provide the yellow mustard option moving forward.
A notice sent to parents who subscribe to Lunchbox, a school lunch ordering app, in Kingston, Ont., on Feb. 22, 2024, informs them ‘yellow mustard’ is no longer available on Subway orders. (Natalie Stechyson/CBC)

A Fortune Business Insights report published last month says the condiment market has been experiencing significant growth, but is also shifting to meet new consumer demands, such as products tailored to the popularity of Asian cuisine in Western countries.

And a Canadian Grocer article last year said Canadian sauce consumption increased five per cent in 2022, but the growth mostly came from marinades and hot sauces.

“I like to think of the sauce and condiment aisle as a sort of reflection of Canadian society,” Kathy Perrotta, vice-president of marketing strategy and understanding at research firm Ipsos Canada, told that publication. “The way we were — ketchup, mustard, relish — [is markedly different] to the way the population looks today.” 

‘Mustard is a key sandwich ingredient!’

Subway Canada has over 2,900 Subway restaurants, all independently owned and operated by its franchisees.

The company has discontinued items and changed its menu many times in the past — in 2023, it added new sandwiches and ingredients

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