A shortage of Sriracha is coming and the weather is to blame

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Huy Fong Foods, maker of the rooster emblem chili Sriracha sauce, which enjoys both cult and mainstream popularity, crushes the hearts of its most die-hard fans. The California-based company recently informed retail customers that it was halting production of its beloved condiment – and when the news began to spread this week, panic that could register on the Scoville scale erupted. is installed.

The company said weather conditions affecting chili pepper production meant it could not produce the signature fiery red sauce and would not immediately be able to fill orders placed after mid-April. The shortage also concerns its chili garlic and sambal oelek condiments. But there’s an end in sight for anxious shoppers — the condiment maker says it hopes to resume processing orders after Labor Day, when it looks like supplies will be back.

In an email to The Washington Post responding to a request for additional information, Huy Fong Foods confirmed an “unprecedented shortage of our products.”

“We are still working to resolve this issue which was caused by several spiraling events, including an unexpected crop failure of the spring chili crop,” reads the message from the company’s management. “We look forward to a successful fall season and thank our customers for their patience and continued support during this difficult time.”

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The trickle down effects are already being felt. A Kentucky sushi restaurant has posted a message on Facebook informing customers that it may not be able to offer Sriracha as a free condiment alongside its menu offerings. “Since it also plays a key role in our homemade Spicy Mayo, we will begin limiting 1 free Spicy Mayo for 2 rolls until we secure our resources,” reads the memo from Brady’s Sushi and Hibachi in Richmond. . “Thank you for your cooperation and understanding in these difficult times.”

The restaurant then posted a sweet follow-up thanking customers for dropping off the bottles they managed to tag: “We know we are loved when you wait outside our door in the morning to drop off the bottles of Sriracha you have found. on the shelves of the local grocery store. shop. Friends! You are incredible!”

Sriracha lovers are legion (see the t-shirts and tattoos emblazoned with the sauce’s distinctive logo), and news of the impending shortage was greeted with despair on social media. The pandemic and its supply chain issues have caused problems with all sorts of products, including yeast and flour (remember when everyone was baking sourdough?), cream cheese and turkeys from Thanksgiving.

But to many, the threat to the versatile sauce felt like the last spicy straw. Some have suggested that bare shelves in the condiment aisle could cause riots.

Stocks of the sauce still appeared to be available at various online retailers Thursday afternoon. But for those worried about a possibly Sriracha-less summer, there are options.

Can we suggest trying to make your own version of it? Or if your grocery shelf is actually empty, you might also want to experiment with other spicy condiments to take its place: harissa, perhaps, or crispy chili? If you crave warmth, there are plenty of ways to get it.

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