Sriracha lovers, we are sorry, but our favorite hot sauce is out of stock.
In late April, Huy Fong Foods (the company that makes Sriracha) informed customers via email that the sauce will be discontinued for the next few years due to severe weather conditions that have affected the quality of chili peppers.
Some spicy sauces have a cult following. As such, many fans took to social media to vent their frustration and share panic buying posts (with various degrees of irony).
sriracha shortage panic spotted in brooklyn pic.twitter.com/12PRMEPJa6
Today, I was told that there is a shortage of sriracha. Please tell me otherwise.
Some grocery stores have started to run out of stock in certain parts of the country, while restaurant owners are facing rising prices.
Michael Csau, coowner of Pho Viet restaurant in Washington D.C. has been paying more for Sriracha orders in recent weeks.
"Normally, when I bought one case it cost between $30 and $32. It's now up to $50, nearly twice the price. Csau stated that if it continues to rise, it will be impossible for us to afford it.
Csau stated that if the price goes up, he will likely switch to another brand.
"But people are already used to the taste." He said that they will know it when they have a taste.
Florence Lee was waiting at Csau's restaurant for a bowl pho and she summarised her thoughts about a Sriracha exchange-out by saying, "A little bummed."
"Because this's where I'm at, you must have the Sriracha and the Hoisin sauce together!" She said.
According to Guillermo Murray Tortarolo of National Autonomous University of Mexico, the shortage is caused by a failed chili pepper harvest. This is where Sriracha's chilies are grown.
Murray Tortarolo stated that Sriracha is made from a special pepper that grows only in the south U.S.A. and northern Mexico. These red jalapeA+os can only be grown in the first four months, so they require very controlled conditions, especially constant irrigation.
Water is essential for irrigation. However, northern Mexico is currently in its second year due to drought.
"The already challenging conditions were further exacerbated by two consecutive La NiA++-a events. Murray Tortarolo stated that the dry season was not only intense but also extremely long.
The spring chili harvest was virtually non-existent this year due to the result. Murray Tortarolo believes it's very probable that climate change is a factor. However, it will require further research to confirm.
He stated that it was possible that other food products from the region, such as avocados, tomatoes, and meat, would also rise if the drought continues.
These conditions are compounded by the fact that the entire region, which includes northern Mexico and the southwestern U.S., is experiencing a "megadrought." It's also linked to climate change.
Park Williams, a UCLA hydroclimatologist, stated that this has been the driest 22-year period in the past 1,200 years. Williams led a recent study on the megadrought that was published in Nature Climate Change.
He stated that the megadrought conditions in the U.S. had made it more difficult for Mexico to manage its water shortages.
Williams stated that "We share some similarities in climate, but also some of the common water." "So, Mexico and Mexican agriculture are now at greater risk because of the fact that our largest reservoirs have been drained over the past 23 years.
Williams stated that although it is difficult to prove that climate change caused drought, it has certainly made things worse. According to Williams' research, about 40% of droughts can be attributed directly to climate change.
Williams stated that we can still make a big difference by limiting the severity of climate change.
"Limiting global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius is a better option than allowing global warming to reach 3 or 4 degrees Celsius."
So Sriracha's hot taste may be dependent on the planet being cool.