Add Sriracha hot sauce to the list of the world’s foods that are suddenly in short supply.
Huy Fong Foods, maker of the iconic red-orange sauce with the rooster on the bottle, has announced that it has suspended operations and will not be taking new trade orders until September. Orders placed after April won’t be filled until after Labor Day, according to a report from the Los Angeles Times.
The problem is bad weather in the region in Mexico that is the source for most of the hot peppers used to make Sriracha. Donna Lam, executive operations director for Huy Fong Foods, declined to name the region for proprietary reasons, but said, "It's a crop thing and something that we can't predict."
Huy Fong uses 50,000 tons of chiles annually. It had been using a California supplier, but that relationship soured and ended up with the supplier being awarded $23.3 million in a lawsuit. Now all of Huy Fong’s chiles are sourced from Mexico.
The news caused consternation among heavy consumers of Sriracha, both social media users and restaurateurs who use it as a basic condiment or even ingredient. The proprietor of a Vietnamese restaurant in Beverly Grove, Calif., told the Times, "We didn't want to panic and buy and hoard as we know other businesses need them too, but now that it's made national news, we might need to. We don't want it to become a toilet paper effect."