How Climate Change Led to the Sriracha Hot Sauce Shortage, Which Is Expected to Last Until Labor Day

There is a serious sriracha sauce shortage, and production will be on hold for the next few months.

Sophie Hirsh - Author

Jun. 10 2022, Published 11:36 a.m. ET

Sriracha shortage
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If you’re one of those people who puts sriracha on everything you eat, you may want to start rationing your precious supply of the cult favorite hot sauce. The brand behind the popular condiment announced that there is a serious sriracha sauce shortage, and production will be on hold for the next few months.

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Here’s what we know about the sriracha hot sauce shortage, plus tips on how to make homemade sriracha to get you through this not-so-spicy time.

Chili pepper shortage
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A sriracha hot sauce shortage has been brought on by a low yield of chili peppers.

Huy Fong Foods, Inc., the California-based company that makes the green-capped sriracha hot sauce, confirmed the sriracha shortage this week.

The company actually first told customers that it was experiencing chili pepper inventory shortage back in July of 2020. Then, in April of this year, Huy Fong Foods shared an update with wholesale buyers, according to TODAY. In the letter to buyers, the brand stated that it was facing “a more severe shortage of chili,” which was attributed to “weather conditions affecting the quality of chili peppers.”

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“Unfortunately, this is out of our control and without this essential ingredient we are unable to produce any of our products,” the company wrote, which include Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce, Chili Garlic, and Sambal Oelek.

Sriracha hot sauce
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Because of this shortage, Huy Fong Foods stated that all orders submitted to the company on or after April 19, 2022 will be scheduled to ship after Sept. 6, 2022. If you placed an order with the company in the past few months but have not yet gotten a confirmation, your order will also be paused until September. The company’s website will also not allow any more orders to be placed until September.

Though that letter went out to buyers nearly two months ago, many sriracha fans did not catch wind of the news until this week, as the shortage has just become even more dire.

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"Unfortunately, we can confirm that there is an unprecedented shortage of our products," Huy Fong Foods said in a statement this week, as per CNN. "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."

"We hope for a fruitful fall season and thank our customers for their patience and continued support during this difficult time," Huy Fong Foods added.

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The chili pepper and sriracha shortage relates to climate change.

Huy Fong Foods attributed the chili pepper shortage to changing weather conditions that led to chili crop failure this spring.

The changing weather conditions in question seem to primarily be droughts and rising temperatures. As reported by NBC News, Huy Fong Foods gets its chili peppers from Mexico, where the country is experiencing a serious drought. In fact, one Mexican city — Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, located in northeast Mexico — recently enacted a daily water limit, only allowing residents to use running water between 4 a.m. and 10 a.m., as per Reuters.

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Droughts are caused by a number of factors, mainly increasing temperatures and reduced rainfall — two common side effects of global warming. And chili peppers aren’t the only food at risk due to the climate crisis. A 2021 study found that climate change is contributing toward the eventual extinction of a number of crops, including coffee, cocoa, avocados, vanilla, potatoes, and you guessed it, chili peppers.

Homemade sriracha recipes:

Fortunately, there are a number of homemade sriracha recipes out there.

This recipe from Allrecipes uses jalapeño and serrano peppers; Serious Eats’ recipe uses jalapeños; and Chili Pepper Madness’ recipe recommends using a mix of red jalapeños, Fresnos, or red Thai peppers. However at this point, pretty much anything in the chili pepper family that you are lucky enough to get your hands on will do.

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