Sriracha shortage likely looms again as Huy Fong halts production

Bottles of Huy Fong Foods Sriracha sauce are displayed on a supermarket shelf on June 10, 2022 in Larkspur, California.

Fans of Huy Fong Foods’ distinctive green-capped sriracha may need to brace for a spicy shortage this summer. 

Fox Business reported on Thursday the company has announced a temporary halt in production of its popular chili sauce due to an inadequate supply of high-quality chilies, exacerbated by ongoing supply chain challenges.

Huy Fong Foods, the Los Angeles-based maker of the iconic rooster-branded sriracha sauce, has stopped production after finding that the chili supply was not meeting quality standards.

 "After reevaluating our supply of chilis, we have determined that it is too green to proceed with production as it is affecting the color of the product," the company stated in a letter  to wholesale buyers originally obtained by USA Today

This pause is expected to last until after Labor Day, coinciding with the start of the next chili harvest season.

Huy Fong Foods declined to comment.

Impact of climate on chili supplies

The ongoing shortage of Huy Fong Foods' sriracha sauce has been exacerbated by severe climate conditions, including a significant drought in Mexico, where the essential red winter jalapeños are grown. 

These peppers, crucial for the sauce's recipe, thrive in cooler temperatures below 80 degrees, typically in the country's northern regions. However, harsh weather has severely impacted the quality and availability of these peppers, disrupting production for the second consecutive year.

Climate scientist Guillermo Murray-Tortarolo from the National Autonomous University of Mexico’s Institute for Ecosystem and Sustainability Research highlighted the severity of the situation to the Washington Post, noting that jalapeño production has been virtually non-existent this year due to the extreme conditions. 

He emphasized that this situation, driven by climate change, could continue to affect production for the rest of the year. He underscored the broader implications of extreme weather events on agriculture.

Further illustrating the impact of the shortage, Nassau Candy, a New York-based food distributor, reported significant challenges in restocking Huy Fong Foods' sriracha. 

The New York Post also reported that Nassau Candy, a food distributor headquartered in NY, has seen its supply of Huy Fong Foods sriracha dwindle. 

Jennifer Wunderlich, a customer support and sales specialist at Nassau Candy, told the New York Post that it has been "months and months" since they have had the popular condiment available, reflecting the widespread disruptions caused by supply chain issues.

Revisiting the 2023 sriracha shortage

Last year, Huy Fong Foods grappled with challenges similar to those faced by drought conditions in Mexico, which severely impacted the availability and quality of chili peppers necessary for their sauce.

The shortage led to a significant scarcity of sriracha on store shelves, pushing consumers to turn to resellers. Platforms like eBay and Amazon saw listings for a single bottle of Huy Fong’s sriracha soar to unusually high prices, with some sellers marking up 28-ounce bottles to as much as $71.99.

FOX Business contributed to this story.