The Student News Site of Great Neck North High School

Guide Post

The Student News Site of Great Neck North High School

Guide Post

The Student News Site of Great Neck North High School

Guide Post

Chili Pepper Shortage Brings up the Heat

After a supposed chili pepper shortage due to climate conditions, sriracha has been off the shelves. When these beloved peppers came back, not only was the price different, but also the taste.

Finally, after a long day, I sat down at my kitchen table to eat a delicious homemade burger. Wanting a little bit of spice in my burger, I decided to add sriracha, like I normally do. This time, however, I found myself adding much more than usual. Still, the heat still was not getting to me.

Double checking the ingredients list, and even the brand, I confirmed that this was the exact same sriracha I’ve always used. But, unless my spice tolerance increased significantly over the past month, it didn’t taste the same.

Sriracha is an infamous hot sauce used worldwide, being used on all kinds of foods (Credit: Wikipedia).

“I haven’t had Sriracha in a while but I remember it had always been super spicy for me,” said freshman Zack Feder. “I could only put drops on whatever I was eating.”

Huy Fong Foods, the company behind Sriracha, receives their chili peppers from California, New Mexico, and Mexico. Lately, a large portion of the region has suffered through drought and poor weather conditions, damaging crops. Since July 2020, the company stated that they were experiencing a shortage of the jalapeño chili peppers used in the sauce.

After breaking off with Huy Fong Foods, Underwood Ranches decided to create their very own Sriracha hot sauce (Credit: Sonoran Spice).

During a dispute with Huy Fong Foods’ former chili pepper supplier, Underwood Ranches, Huy Fong Foods claimed it overpaid Underwood Ranches for its crops from the 2016 season.

While Underwood Ranches has always supplied sriracha’s need for peppers, the company still decided to contract with new farmers.

Underwood claims that Huy Fong Foods felt that they could get cheaper peppers on the fresh open market, but, being short in supply, made them impossible to receive. Underwood has also said that he could have kept up with demand if he were still the company’s supplier, experiencing no difficulties harvesting the peppers.

“My parents were talking about the chili pepper shortage, but I didn’t know it actually affected brands like Sriracha,” said sophomore Avidan Yaghoubzar.

If you had noticed, sriracha was off the shelves for almost 2 months, unavailable anywhere. The only way to get your hands on sriracha was through third-party sellers, who sold bottles for $52 each during the shortage.

When sriracha finally did land on the shelves once again, they came at elevated prices and a different taste. Many have been complaining about the taste not being the same, especially not as spicy as it once was.

A small study conducted by journalist Makenna Sieverston aimed to compare pre-shortage sriracha with the new one. After having multiple volunteers taste both srirachas, it was unanimously agreed that the newer sriracha does not taste at all like the Sriracha it was before. Instead, the pre-shortage Sriracha was much spicier, and even had a different color than the newer one.

The color difference between the two Srirachas are evident and prove that something has changed between the two (Credit: LAist).

“My spice tolerance is pretty high but even I can tell that the newer Sriracha isn’t the same as the one before,” said sophomore Ben Rokhsar. “It’s way more sweet and ketchup-y.”

However, after an interview with Huy Fong Foods themselves, the company stated that the recipe did not change and that the taste simply varies with every batch.

With a sketchy excuse like this one, it does seem like the sriracha we’ve always known may be gone forever. Whether it is the different supplier for the peppers or the chili pepper shortage that changed Sriracha is unknown, but it most likely did change.

This change in sriracha is definitely not the end of the world, but it can have lasting impacts on heat-lovers like me. And who knows, maybe this newer one will grow on me (probably not).

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Kian Soleymani
Kian Soleymani, Associate Editor
Kian Soleymani is one of Guide Post’s associate editors. He takes difficult courses at North High, ranging from honors to AP’s, with his favorite class being math. Kian also loves to play sports in his free time, participating on the JV lacrosse team and playing outside of school on club shore-2-shore. After school, he enjoys participating in the ping pong team, the robotics team, Model UN, and key club. As someone who wants to challenge himself, he’s constantly trying to improve by making himself and others around him better. 

Comments (0)

All Guide Post Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *