Is A Sriracha Shortage On The Way? Popular Hot Sauce Maker Halts Production

Huy Fong Foods just halted Sriracha production, causing speculation over another summer hot sauce shortage

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3 Minutes Read

Photo shows several shelves stacked with Huy Fong Foods' Sriracha chili sauce in its distinctive bottles with green caps Huy Fond Foods is pausing Sriracha production for now - Media Credit: Adobe Stock

Californian hot sauce maker Huy Fong Foods just halted Sriracha production until at least September, causing speculation over a second summer shortage.

Read more: It’s Not A Rumor: Why Jalapeños Are Becoming Less Spicy

While Huy Fong Foods produces a range of products, it is best known for its signature, sweet, sour, and spicy Sriracha hot sauce. It sells the bright red condiment in iconic green-capped bottles featuring a rooster, leading to its nickname “rooster sauce.”

Huy Fong Foods says that crop issues are behind the decision to shut down production. It told buyers that the red jalapeño chili peppers it uses are not red enough and that production will not restart until at least September once the new growing season begins.

“After re-evaluating our supply of chili, we have determined that it is too green to proceed with production as it is affecting the color of the product,” Huy Fong Foods told its wholesale buyers in a letter obtained by USA Today. “Unfortunately, all orders that have been scheduled beginning on May 6, 2024, will be canceled and the status changed to pending.”

Adverse agricultural conditions are a huge factor in the chili shortages. Punishing droughts and water shortages in Mexico and California – worsened by the climate crisis and extreme weather events of all kinds – have decimated chilis and other crops around the world. (In the UK, this winter’s persistent rainfall has stymied wheat, barley, and oat production.)

However, places with warmer climates are under particularly intense pressure. According to a 2022 study published in Nature Climate Change, Northern Mexico and parts of the US have experienced the single driest 22-year period in more than 1,200 years.

Read more: Hundreds Of Climate Scientists Predict Global Heating Of At Least 2.5C

The climate crisis is compounding supply chain issues

The image, which is generated by AI, shows a small chili plant with green leaves and red peppers growing in amongst others
Adobe Stock Climate change is negatively impacting crops around the world, including chilis

This is just the latest Sriracha supply issue for Huy Fong Foods following its falling out with Underwood Ranches – its only chili supplier for nearly 30 years – in 2016. Since then, the company has struggled to consistently source the 50,000 tons of chilis it requires per year.

In both 2020 and 2022, Huy Fong Foods also told its customers that it was experiencing chili pepper shortages. Then, in 2023, the company ran out entirely, making its iconic sauce almost impossible to find in stores, and prompting the re-sale of bottles for up to USD $120.

Stephanie Walker, a professor and extension vegetable specialist at New Mexico State University, told USA Today that Huy Fong Foods’ shortage may mostly stem from its relatively new relationship with Mexican growers post-Underwood rather than the changing climate.

Notably, other Sriracha producers have not yet reported any chili pepper production issues.

This latest announcement has Huy Fong Foods Sriracha fans wondering whether another shortage might be on the cards over the summer. Huy Fong Foods’ chili garlic sauce and sambal oelek – a crushed chili paste – will also be affected by the production halt.

Read more: Bread Prices Could Rise Due To Rainfall

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