Sriracha lovers, brace yourselves for a spicy mystery that’s left everyone in suspense. Imagine the shock when Jimmy Ly, owner of Vietnamese restaurants in New York City, couldn’t find his beloved sriracha sauce on the shelves.
The iconic rooster-emblazoned bottles had vanished, leaving fans and businesses scrambling. But what happened to the beloved Sriracha brand? Let’s dig into the details.
The Vanishing Act
As Mr. Ly experienced, the disappearance of Huy Fong’s sriracha from stores is no illusion.
Huy Fong, revealed they faced difficulties with production for the second consecutive year due to a “shortage of raw material.” The big question on everyone’s mind: when will the supply return?
Sriracha Enthusiasts in Panic
News outlets buzzed with reports of the sriracha shortage. Headlines screamed, “Sriracha lovers feel the heat as hot sauce shortage continues.”
In contrast, others warned that “Sriracha shortage sparks sky-high prices.” The situation prompted chefs like Mr. Ly to adapt their recipes and seek alternatives as the green-capped squeeze bottles became scarce, with some online listings reaching an eye-watering $86 for a two-pack.
Huy Fong’s Mysterious Silence
Huy Fong’s statement mentioned that “limited production has recently resumed,” but a return to store shelves remains uncertain.
The perplexing part? Huy Fong doesn’t sell directly to consumers, leaving fans to wonder when they’ll taste the fiery delight again.
What Happened to the Sriracha Brand?
Sriracha Brand has run short of raw materials to produce their famous hot sauce. Contrary to what many assume, the sriracha shortage does not indicate a global hot sauce crisis.
Brands like Tabasco and Spicy Shark have reported stable inventories, suggesting that the problem might lie closer to Huy Fong’s supply chain.
Gabe DiSaverio, founder of Spicy Shark, speculates that the issue could be related to Huy Fong’s suppliers.
Sriracha: A Sauce, Not a Pepper
One misconception adding to the suspense is a shortage of sriracha peppers. However, sriracha is a type of sauce, not a pepper. While Huy Fong’s sriracha is the most famous, alternatives are available.
The Origin Story
To understand this predicament better, we must journey back to 1975 when David Tran, Huy Fong’s founder, started making his sriracha in Los Angeles.
Over time, Huy Fong built an exclusive relationship with Underwood Ranches, supplying the red jalapeños that give the sauce its distinct flavor.
The Crumbling Partnership
The trouble began in 2016 when the exclusive partnership between Huy Fong and Underwood Ranches ended due to a payment dispute.
In 2019, a jury awarded Underwood $23 million in damages. Since then, Huy Fong has been searching beyond its California backyard for peppers, relying mainly on Mexican farms.
Climate Change and Contracts
Huy Fong has cited climate change and a Mexican drought for the sriracha shortage.
While these factors played a role, Stephanie Walker, a chile pepper researcher, noted that growing conditions improved recently.
This suggests Huy Fong’s shortage might stem from a lack of contracts with diverse farmers.
The Huy Fong Loyalty
Despite the turmoil, for many, sriracha remains synonymous with Huy Fong. In places like Houston, where sriracha is a daily staple, restaurants struggle to secure their hot sauce fix.
General Manager Anna Pham shared how the once-abundant condiment has become a rare treasure, with some bottles selling at “insane” prices.
The Spicy Mystery Continues
So, what happened to the Sriracha brand? While some clues point to supply chain issues, the full story remains shrouded in mystery.
As fans and businesses adapt to this fiery predicament, one thing is certain: the world eagerly awaits the return of the beloved sriracha sauce.