After stunning hot sauce lovers with shortages in 2022, Huy Fong Foods announced earlier this month that the nightmare is recurring, and for the same reason: A failed red jalapeño crop in Mexico in 2022 due to drought means Sriracha’s key ingredient is in short supply. And that translates to empty space on grocery-store shelves.
“Although some production did resume this past fall season, we continue to have a limited supply that continues to affect our production,” Huy Fong said in a statement, as reported by USA Today. “At this time, we have no estimations of when supply will increase.”
That sharp screech you just heard was a millennial (me) learning their favorite condiment is in trouble (again).
According to the Los Angeles Times, Huy Fong uses about 50,000 tons of chiles each year to produce its line of sauces. But ongoing drought conditions in recent years have decimated the annual crop.
“Sriracha is actually made from a very special type of pepper that only grows in the southern U.S. and northern Mexico,” said climate and ecosystem researcher Guillermo Murray-Tortarolo, in a 2022 NPR article. “These red jalapeños are only grown during the first four months of the year, and they need very controlled conditions, particularly constant irrigation.”
“I only have like three bottles. What am I going to do?” asked customer Joyce Park, in a New York Times article about the 2022 shortage. “It’s an emergency but there are other spicy foods hopefully.”
And sriracha lovers are also expressing their dismay over social media this time around, as @wisepissmage did on Twitter:
Another sushi bowl thing with shiitakes and tofu for dinner. The national sriracha shortage really hit home tonight pic.twitter.com/R9tsnp74gD
— isabel (@wisepissmage) April 5, 2023
If you’re still seeing Huy Fong Sriracha at the store, consider picking one up — Huy Fong doesn’t track where it’s still in stock, so once it’s gone it might be a while before it returns. The company does say it’s working to avoid future outages, though.
A quick search for Huy Fong Sriracha on my local grocery store’s website showed a 17-ounce bottle available at $4.24, which is slightly higher than its $3.99 price from Friday.
That’s not too bad. I’ll still be grabbing a bottle or two on my next visit. Just in case.