This summer, sriracha lovers can expect their food to be a bit more milder, as extreme weather leads to more shortages, now affecting the popular hot sauce.
Huy Fong Foods Inc., a Southern California-based producer of the popular sriracha hot sauce — as well as chili garlic and sambal oelek, both hot sauces — notified customers of a potential sauce shortage earlier this year. The company attributed the issue in part to weather conditions, including a drought, affecting the quality of chili peppers used to make their products.
New orders will not be fulfilled until after Labor Day, according to a letter from the company.
Sriracha is a hot, chili-based sauce originating in Thailand, though its use has spread across the Asian food industry. The popularity of brands such as Huy Fong Foods has led fans of the sauce to add it to pizza, burgers and even ice cream.
Now, as supply of the sauce becomes more limited, local restaurants have started to feel the heat.
“We’re trying to use what we have,” said Daisy Chen, manager of Izumi, a Japanese and Thai restaurant in South Attleboro.
The restaurant uses sriracha for some of its sauces.
Chen said they have been feeling the impact of the shortage, as many of their suppliers no longer carry the sauce and it often costs more to purchase.
“We have to go to different stores to find it,” said John Chan, an employee at Imperial Dragon Inc., a Chinese restaurant in Plainville. He explained that the restaurant does not use a lot of sriracha, but the shortage may still have an effect if it continues.
Grocery stores have also been affected.
“I’ve had a concern for several months,” said Al, a grocery manager at Seabra Foods in Attleboro, who asked that his last name not be used.
Like many restaurants, he attributed the issue to the suppliers.
“If the suppliers don’t have it, we don’t get it,” he said.
But, he said, sriracha is not a big seller for the store anyway. Seabra’s, a New Jersey-based chain, specializes in products from Portugal, Spain and Latin America.
Customers can expect to feel the impact of the shortage as restaurants are limited in what they can serve.
Chen said she has had to start limiting sriracha use in her restaurant. For example, while customers were once able to order the sauce as a side, she is no longer allowing that due to the shortage.
“We don’t have the supply,” she said.
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