Last year, we reported on bad news from a trusted condiment source: Huy Fong Foods, the manufacturer of cult hot sauce sriracha, was shutting down production for the summer due to a shortage of the red jalapeños that make up the bulk of their recipe. Foodies everywhere looked forward to the next season when drought conditions would lift, peppers bloom and fruit and production would resume.
Well, none of that has happened. As anyone struggling in the most climate-change-affected areas of the world can attest, our environment is changing for the worse. All life is affected, from us down to jalapeños, which is why the sriracha shortage is officially grinding into its second year. And fans of the stuff have taken to eBay to nab what limited supplies there are at staggeringly inflated prices.
“In one of the more egregious examples, a 12-pack of 28-ounce bottles sold for $415 ($34.58 per bottle) after receiving 28 bids. One seller on the site was selling bottles of the same size for around $30, while another offered the product for an even more precipitous $80 a pop.
And people are willing to fork over large sums if it means they can flavor their food with the chili sauce. A glance at completed listings on eBay reveals dozens of Huy Fong products sold after auction just since Sunday, all well above their retail prices.
One seller offering 28-ounce bottles for $32.99 had made 115 sales as of Monday morning.”
This whole situation would be comical if it didn’t herald the complete collapse of our agriculture and supply chains! But besides that, it speaks to the unwavering dedication foodies have for their faves. If only we could harness that and use it as fuel for a more sustainable future: While California (where Huy Fong’s sriracha is manufactured) is no longer officially in drought because of a historically wet spring, their troubles aren’t over. Experts say that this cycle of extreme dryness followed by piles of precipitation (that may mean catastrophic floods) will likely be the new normal. In that case, I hope we can manage a little hot sauce to bring a bit of joy to dark times!