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Sriracha shortage: What you need to know

By Chiara Grimes, CNN Business

Time to find an alternative hot sauce, Sriracha lovers.

Huy Fong Inc., one of the world’s largest producers in the Asian hot sauce market, says it anticipates a major shortage of its beloved Sriracha.

“Unfortunately, we can confirm that there is an unprecedented shortage of our products,” the company said in a statement. “We are still endeavoring to resolve this issue that has been caused by several spiraling events, including unexpected crop failure from the spring chili harvest.”

Although chili peppers have consistently been in short supply since the early days of the Covid pandemic, Huy Fong warned in April that an even more severe shortage of chilies was taking place due to severe weather conditions affecting the quality of the peppers. The situation is “out of our control” and would detrimentally affect the making and selling of Sriracha, the company said in an April 19 letter to distributors.

The company said it would not accept any new orders placed before September, and any orders made before Labor Day would be fulfilled in the fall, because it lacks the inventory to meet that demand. Huy Fong advised distributors not to “promise any products to customers unless you have the product in stock,”

“We hope for a fruitful fall season and thank our customers for their patience and continued support during this difficult time,” Huy Fong said.

The halt in production applies to Huy Fong’s signature Sriracha hot chili sauce as well as its Chili Garlic and Sambal Oelek products.

So, what does this mean for Sriracha fans?

Customers are not taking this news lightly. Some Sriracha aficionados have decided to stock up at their local grocery stores to prepare for their daunting and ‘spiceless’ future.

Because this is the internet age, which has sparked a backlash. Other fans are angry at those hot sauce hoarders, comparing them to those who stocked up on toilet paper, hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes during the early days of the pandemic, only making the situation worse for other people — and themselves.

Sriracha, created in 1980 by Chinese immigrant David Tran, has made its way on to the shelves of huge retailers like Target and Whole Foods, and has been a fan favorite of consumers since its inception.

With the uncertainty of when America’s most popular Asian hot sauce will be fully stocked in stores, it may be time to find a hot sauce alternative.

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