Hot Sauce Maker Halts Production Due to Chili Pepper Color

Staff
By Staff
3 Min Read

Another year, another potential shortage of Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce. Consumers, distributors and retailers have faced this dilemma before, but this time it has less to do with supply and more to do with color.

USA Today obtained a letter sent to wholesalers by Huy Fong Foods, the company that makes Sriracha, the well-known hot sauce with the rooster on the label. It said that it would be halting production of the popular hot sauce until after Labor Day because red jalapeno peppers it uses to make sriracha are not red enough.

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The company said, “After reevaluating our supply of chili, we have determined that it is too green to proceed with production as it is affecting the color of the product.” It said production would resume later this summer when the next chili season begins. In addition to stopping production, Huy Fong said all orders beginning May 6 have been canceled.

Stephanie Walker, a professor at New Mexico State University and a vegetable specialist, told the publication that other makers of sriracha, a general term used to describe chile- and garlic-based hot sauce, seem to have plenty of red chili peppers. But she speculated that Huy Fong’s attempts to bring new jalapeno growers into the fold have not been as successful as hoped.

This is not the first time Huy Fong has warned of a Sriracha shortage. In 2022, the company said a bad growing season, marked by droughts in Mexico, led to severe shortage of chili peppers.

Huy Fong at one time had a solid relationship with Underwood Farms, which supplied all of its chilis. But the companies had a falling out that turned into a legal battle and ultimately resulted in Huy Fong paying millions in settlements to Underwood Farms. And now Underwood has begun selling its own sriracha sauce with a dragon on the label, using its own abundant supply of chili peppers while Huy Fong struggles with a discolored crop.

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