Every Weird Mustard Product French's Has Unleashed Upon Us

Happy National Mustard Day. Have some... Skittles?

This Saturday, August 5, is National Mustard Day, but we'd understand if you didn't have this one marked on your calendar. It's not an occasion that most consumers set aside to celebrate. Know who does? French's, the number-one mustard brand in the nation, whose electric yellow condiment is synonymous with American cuisine. Each year, French's celebrates National Mustard Day with the release of a new mustardy product to surprise and delight consumers, and this year's entry might top them all: Mustard Skittles.

You won't be able to purchase French's Mustard Skittles at the grocery store; the press release notes that free samples will be handed out on August 5 in New York City's Hudson River Park from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. If you're not in NYC, you have until Saturday, August 5 to head to Frenchs.com/MustardSkittles and enter to win a pack of the super limited-edition condiment candy.

Why is any of this happening? French's knows we might be confused.

"Few partnerships make sense," the brand assures us on the Mustard Skittles website. "This one truly does not, which means it absolutely does."

French’s odd mustard-flavored snacks, explained

Though Mustard Skittles might be "summer's tangiest yellow candy," they're hardly the first oddball product that French's has brought to market in recent years. This is the fifth year in a row that the brand has celebrated National Mustard Day with a wacky, headline-grabbing release. Let's take a stroll down memory lane and review its prior puzzling products.

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  • 2019: Mustard Ice Cream. To bring this "scooped not squeezed" creation to life, French's partnered with Coolhaus, a dairy company long known for its inventive, genre-bending flavors. Some of the internet reaction was negative (with one commenter simply writing "delete ur company"), but it did result in a lovely looking dessert, and some customers got creative with it, even pairing it with peanut butter.
  • 2020: Mustard Beer. Mustard ice cream proved so popular that French's followed it up in 2020 with this wheat beer, brewed by Oskar Blues. Its tropical flavor profile was "infused with key lime, lemon, tangerine, and passion fruit to create a tart, refreshing match for the bright and bold zip of Classic Yellow Mustard." The brand even published recipes to make full use of the beer.
  • 2021: Mustard Buns. This invention has a surprising amount of practicality to it, since it spreads out the zesty mustard flavor across every bite of the hot dog rather than limiting it to one concentrated swipe down the middle of the sausage. French's partnered with New England's Piantedosi Baking Company to develop a hot dog bun that was "golden in color, soft in texture, with a distinct, yet subtle tang that doesn't overpower." It made appearances at hot dog stands in both Camden Yards and Yankee Stadium.
  • 2022: Mustard Doughnuts. These might be French's single most perplexing National Mustard Day promotion. Made in partnership with New York bakery Dough Doughnuts, the yellow-mustard-iced doughnut with a cake crumble topping was undeniably, indisputably mustardy in flavor, yet its vinegar notes took a turn toward sweet instead of sour. Definitely not something to purchase by the dozen, but a fascinating attempt nonetheless.
  • Seeing the list above, candy seems like a natural extension of the gimmick. French's described for The Takeout the process of developing each year's National Mustard Day treat, and it sounds like a 1:1 blend of culinary innovation and marketing magic.

    The brand begins its planning months in advance of the "holiday," brainstorming various ways to make its Mustard Day release as unexpected as possible and thinking about which brands might be willing to collaborate to help them get there.

    "Once we land on the partnership, we work with our amazing culinary and flavors team at McCormick to ensure the bold and tangy flavors of French's Classic Yellow Mustard comes through," Valda Coryat, VP of North America Marketing for Condiments & Sauces at McCormick, told The Takeout via email. She added that the team gets to "taste test all rounds of the recipe creations," and confirms that the process is "a lot of fun."

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    From there, it's all about brand activation, baby. This year's Mustard Mobile made stops in Atlanta, New York City, and Washington, D.C. to hand out Mustard Skittles and generate on-the-ground curiosity and excitement around the product. Coryat refers to National Mustard Day as an "annual breakthrough moment," one that French's seizes upon to differentiate itself from its competitors.

    That seems demonstrably true, doesn't it? While other mustard brands have generated headlines with odd products, French's is working to make it an annual tradition, a pattern of self-imposed one-upmanship. If Mustard Skittles are strange, what could be stranger? Since we've already been treated to ice cream, candy, bread, beer, and doughnuts, my bet is on some kind of breakfast cereal for National Mustard Day 2024. Kellogg's, expect a call.

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