Grey Poupon
Grey poupon logo.png
Grey Poupon mustard.JPG
Product typeMustard
OwnerKraft Heinz (World)
Associated British Foods (UK)
Produced byKraft Foods
CountryDijon, France
Introduced1866; 156 years ago (1866)
Previous owners

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

The U.S. rights to the brand were acquired by the Heublein Company, 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
1918 French advertisement

Maurice Grey (b. Urcy, France, 1816; d. 1897),[3] who was winning medals for his Dijon mustard machine in 1855, in 1860 was awarded a Royal Appointment for developing a machine that dramatically increased the speed of production of mustard. However, needing financing, which he obtained in 1866 from Auguste Poupon, another Dijon mustard manufacturer, the Grey–Poupon partnership produced their first mustard around 1866 in Dijon, France.[4]

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

In 1970, the directors of Grey Poupon and of another Dijon mustard firm, André Ricard, having earlier bought the popular Maille-label, 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 to Holland, Michigan, from Pennsylvania following Kraft Heinz's expansion of its 120-year-old Holland production facility.[9]



Heublein increased the visibility and name recognition of their mustard brand with a 1980s 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!" The closing shot is of the Grey Poupon jar 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, displaying a duel between the driver who took the Grey Poupon jar (played by British actor Frazer Douglas) being 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

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

The "Pardon me, would you have any Grey Poupon?" commercials have been parodied in many films and TV shows, including Wayne's World (1992), Married... with Children's "Old Insurance Dodge", WWE SmackDown and Family Guy's "Blue Harvest" (September 23, 2007). The question was asked by Michael J. Fox's character, while preparing to eat a frog dog in the film The Hard Way (1991), by Little Richard in The Naked Truth, and by the Dutch character (Joost Michael de Witt) in Emilio Estevez's film The Way (2010). The line was also mentioned in a deleted scene from The Office, said by character Andy Bernard.[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 redwine 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, when Das EFX mentioned the brand on their song "East Coast". Artists such as MF DOOM,[18] Kanye West, Big Sean,[19] Jay Z, Kendrick Lamar,[20] and T-Pain have all referenced Grey Poupon in their song lyrics. According to rapper Open Mike Eagle, the prevalence of these references is attributable to how convenient it is to create a rhyme with the brand name as well as how strongly the product is associated with class, style, and luxury.[21]

See also


  1. ^ Kloman, Erasmus H. (2001). Bare Barging in Burgundy. 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. 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". 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. ^ Campbell, Graeme (13 October 2016). "Here's Why Rappers Love Rhyming About Grey Poupon Mustard". Highsnobiety. Retrieved 8 September 2019.
  20. ^ KendrickLamarVEVO (30 March 2017), Kendrick Lamar - HUMBLE., archived from the original on 2021-12-21, retrieved 31 March 2017
  21. ^ Caswell, Estelle; Frostenson, Sarah (12 October 2016). "How Grey Poupon became hip-hop's favorite condiment". Vox Media. Retrieved 9 July 2021.