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Grey Poupon

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Grey Poupon
Product typeMustard
OwnerKraft Heinz (World)
Associated British Foods (UK)
Produced byKraft Foods
CountryDijon, France
Introduced1866; 158 years ago (1866)
Previous owners

Grey Poupon is a brand of Dijon mustard which originated in Dijon, France, in 1866.[1]

The U.S. rights to the brand were acquired by the Heublein Company in 1946, later passing on to Kraft Foods. Grey Poupon became popular in the United States in the late 1970s and 1980s as American tastes broadened from conventional American yellow mustards, aided in large part by a memorable advertising campaign emphasizing the product's association with luxury.

Like other Dijon mustards, Grey Poupon contains a small amount of white wine. The American version is made with brown mustard seed grown in Canada.[2]


1918 French advertisement

Dijon, France, Mustard-maker Maurice Grey (b. Urcy, France, 1816; d. 1897),[3] was awarded a Royal Appointment in 1860 for developing a machine that dramatically increased the speed of manufacture. In 1866 he received financing for putting it into use by partnering with fellow Dijon moutardier, Auguste Poupon, birthing Grey-Poupon.[4]

In 1946, the Heublein Company bought the American rights from the original company.[5]

André Ricard,[who?] bought the popular Marseilles brand[of what?] Maille.[when?] In 1970, the directors of Grey Poupon and Ricard formed a conglomerate called S.E.G.M.A. Maille. Soon afterwards, the new company decided to phase out the Grey Poupon label in France.

In America, R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company acquired Heublein in 1982[6] and merged it with Nabisco in 1985 to form RJR Nabisco. In 1999, Kraft Foods acquired Nabisco, including the Grey Poupon brand.

In 2000, Amora-Maille was acquired by Unilever and UK trademark rights to Grey Poupon were assumed by it until 2005 when the rights were sold to G Costa & Company Limited, a subsidiary of Associated British Foods. In 2008, Associated British Foods folded G Costa into AB World Foods.[7]

Grey Poupon Dijon and wholegrain mustard are still produced in France for the European markets.[8] Production of Grey Poupon for the American market moved from Pennsylvania to Holland, Michigan, following Kraft Heinz's expansion of its 120-year-old production facility there.[9]



Heublein increased the visibility and name recognition of their mustard brand with a 1981 commercial pointing out that "one can enjoy the finer things of life with white wine mustard without paying high prices", in which a Rolls-Royce pulls up alongside another Rolls-Royce, and a passenger in one asks "Pardon me, would you have any Grey Poupon?" The other responds, "But of course!", followed by the jar of Grey Poupon being passed between the vehicles. In one variation, the characters are on the Orient Express.[10]

The commercial spawned a number of variations, often comedic; a 1991 version features Ian Richardson asking Paul Eddington if he has any Grey Poupon, to which Eddington replies, "But of course", then motions for his driver to speed away. It is implied that they are playing the roles of the fictitious British Prime Ministers Francis Urquhart (from House of Cards) and Jim Hacker (from Yes, Prime Minister), respectively.[11][12] Another commercial included the introduction of a plastic squeeze bottle, wherein the bottle makes a flatulent noise, much to the mortification of the driver.[13]

The advertising campaign helped solidify Grey Poupon's status as a product associated with the wealthy; in 1992, Grey Poupon had the strongest correlation between a person's income and whether or not they used the product.[14]

In 2013, Grey Poupon created a new advertisement, playing upon the 1980s commercial, an action movie spoof where the driver who took the Grey Poupon jar (played by British actor Frazer Douglas) is chased down by the mustard's original owner (played by American actor Rod McCary).[15] The spot was nominated for an Emmy for best commercial.[16]

Brand extensions[edit]

In 2007, Kraft introduced three new specialty mustards under the Grey Poupon brand: a coarse-ground mustard with whole mustard seeds, a spicy brown mustard with diced yellow onions, and a honey mustard with clover honey and spices. Only the coarse ground version remains in production.

In popular culture[edit]

The "Pardon me, would you have any Grey Poupon?" commercials have been parodied in many films and TV shows.[citation needed]

In her semi-autobiographical 1983 novel Heartburn, Nora Ephron's protagonist describes the recipe for an ideal vinaigrette as "mix two tablespoons of Grey Poupon mustard with two tablespoons good red wine vinegar. Then, whisking constantly with a fork, slowly add six tablespoons olive oil, until the vinaigrette is thick and creamy; this makes a very strong vinaigrette that is perfect for salad greens like arugula and watercress and endive."[17]

The Grey Poupon name has appeared frequently in hip-hop and rap lyrics since 1992.[18][19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kloman, Erasmus H. (2001). Bare Barging in Burgundy. Capital Books. ISBN 9781892123404.
  2. ^ Remnick, David (2009). Secret Ingredients: The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink. Modern Library Inc. p. 365. ISBN 978-0812976410.
  3. ^ "-1816 ● Naissance de Maurice Grey, moutardier". Académie des sciences (in French). Retrieved August 28, 2019.
  4. ^ Lee, Laura (2001). The Name's Familiar II. Pelican. ISBN 9781455609178.
  5. ^ "Grey Poupon". Youngstown Vindicator. (Ohio). (advertisement). September 28, 1956. p. 4.
  6. ^ "R.J. REYNOLDS WINS HEUBLEIN". The New York Times. 1982-07-30. Retrieved 2020-12-08.
  7. ^ "Search for a trade mark - Intellectual Property Office". trademarks.ipo.gov.uk. Retrieved 2021-01-19.
  8. ^ "Grey Poupon - Brand of Premium French Dijon and Wholegrain Mustard". Grey Poupon UK. Archived from the original on 2021-01-28. Retrieved 2021-01-20.
  9. ^ "Pardon me: Grey Poupon's move to Mich. will add jobs". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 2016-05-20.
  10. ^ Grey Poupon - Train (1984, USA). The Hall of Advertising (Commercial). November 16, 2015. Archived from the original on 2021-12-21. Retrieved August 16, 2019.
  11. ^ Zuccarello, Francis (2018). Grey Poupon "Son Of Rolls" :30. Vimeo (Commercial). Retrieved August 16, 2019.
  12. ^ Mail, Sharon (2009). We Could Possibly Comment: Ian Richardson Remembered. Leicester: Troubadour Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84876-184-1.
  13. ^ Grey Poupon Squeeze. Smart Advertising (Commercial). January 8, 2009. Archived from the original on 2021-12-21. Retrieved August 16, 2019.
  14. ^ Ihnat, Gwen (July 12, 2018). "Study: If you favor Jif peanut butter over Skippy, you're probably a conservative". The Takeout. Retrieved August 10, 2019.
  15. ^ Grey Poupon's 'Pardon Me' Ads to Return: Mustard Company Brings Back Popular Campaign. ABC news. February 20, 2013. Archived from the original on 2021-12-21. Retrieved August 16, 2019.
  16. ^ "Ads Up For Emmy For Best Commercial - Business Insider". Business Insider. 18 July 2013.
  17. ^ Ephron, Nora (1983). Heartburn. William Heinemann. p. 178. ISBN 978-1-84408-517-0.
  18. ^ Viktor Vaughn – Raedawn, retrieved 2021-01-28
  19. ^ Caswell, Estelle; Frostenson, Sarah (12 October 2016). "How Grey Poupon became hip-hop's favorite condiment". Vox Media. Retrieved 9 July 2021.

External links[edit]