Condimentum mustard factory wins new global contracts

06:00 21 May 2022

Demand for Norfolk-grown mustard is heating up around the world after major new global deals were struck by a state-of-the-art factory outside Norwich.

The £11million Condimentum Mustard Mill at Food Enterprise Park near Easton opened in January 2020.

It was developed by a consortium of East Anglian mustard and mint growers to maintain their proud historic links with the Colman’s brand, after manufacturer Unilever left its Carrow Works factory in Norwich.

The mill is one of only three of its kind in the world capable of turning mustard seeds into a “double superfine” flour.

Initially the flour was produced only for Unilever, to be sold in cans or used as a signature ingredient in Colman’s mustard paste, now made in Burton-on-Trent.

But now Condimentum has secured new contracts as it seeks to maximize the plant’s capacity, capable of processing 6,000 tonnes of mustard seed a year – of which only a third is needed to meet Unilever’s demand. .

Managing Director David Martin said: “We started with Unilever only, but it was always our intention to grow the business and expand the customer base, as well as the range of ingredients we offer. Unilever has always supported this.

“We were able to engage with some very large multinationals.

“We won a global tender to supply mustard-related products to South America, Costa Rica, Australia, Thailand, and Eastern and Western Europe. to obtain formal approval from another large company.

“So we’re ahead of what we wanted to do. It’s really accelerated.

“Although it is difficult to say when we will be at full capacity, we would like to think that over the next two or three years we will come close to using a significant proportion of the spare capacity of the plant.”

Mr Martin said demand is currently being driven by a global shortage of mustard, partly due to droughts and reduced acreage in Canada, which is “by far the world’s largest exporter of mustard, 30 times more bigger than the UK.

A long-term exclusivity agreement with Unilever means the exact specifications that give Colman’s mustard its distinctive taste would never be duplicated for any other customer, Mr Martin said.

Mustard seeds being processed at the Condimentum plant, on the Food Enterprise Park in Easton
– Credit: Neil Didsbury

But different flour mixtures are produced as ingredients for hot sauces, mayonnaise and curries around the world.

And continued production growth could mean more mustard is grown in Norfolk and the Fens.

“The business is owned by Norfolk mustard and mint growers, so I can speak to them directly if we need them to expand further to meet demand,” Mr Martin said.

Mustard seeds grown in Norfolk delivered to the condiment factory, on the Easton Food Company Park

Mustard seeds grown in Norfolk delivered to the condiment factory, on the Easton Food Company Park
– Credit: Neil Didsbury