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Sorry, Sriracha fans, your favorite hot sauce is running out nationwide.
The company that makes Sriracha, Huy Fong Foods, written in an email customers at the end of April that it will have to stop making the sauce for the next few months due to “harsh weather conditions affecting the quality of the peppers”.
The spicy sauce has something of a cult following, and so when the news broke, some fans took to social media to express their dismay and post about panic buying (more or less ironically). ).
I was told today that there is a shortage of sriracha?
Please God tell me it’s not true
— Waffle (@WafflesTwitch) June 17, 2022
Grocery stores in some parts of the country have already started to run out of stock and restaurant owners have faced higher prices.
Michael Csau, co-owner of the Pho Viet restaurant in Washington DC, has paid significantly more in recent weeks for his Sriracha orders.
“Usually when I would buy a crate it was around $30-$32. Now it’s up to $50, almost double the price. If it keeps going up, we can’t afford it. “Csau said.
If the price gets much higher, Csau said he should probably switch to another brand.
“But people, they’re used to the taste right now. So when they taste it, they’ll know right away,” he said.
Florence Lee, who was at the restaurant in Csau waiting for a bowl of pho, summed up her thoughts on an exchange of Sriracha: “A little disappointed.”
“Because that’s how I am, you have to have Hoisin sauce and Sriracha, together!” she says.
Other foods could also be affected
The shortage is due to a failed harvest of chili peppers in northern Mexico, where all the chilies used in Sriracha come from, according to Guillermo Murray Tortarolo of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, which studies climate and ecosystems.
“Sriracha is actually made from a very special type of pepper that only grows in the southern United States and northern Mexico,” Murray Tortarolo says. “These red jalapeos are only grown for the first four months of the year, and they need very controlled conditions, especially constant irrigation.”
Irrigation, of course, requires a lot of water, but northern Mexico is in its second year of drought.
“The already difficult conditions were pushed beyond the limit by two consecutive La Nia events. And the dry season was not only intense, but also remarkably long,” said Murray Tortarolo.
As a result, the spring chilli harvest has been almost non-existent this year. Murray Tortarolo thinks it’s very likely that climate change is a factor, although this needs further study to confirm this.
He said if the drought continued, it was likely that the prices of other foods in the region like avocados, tomatoes and meat would also rise.
JULIO CESAR AGUILAR/AFP via Getty Images
In addition to these conditions, the entire region that includes the southwestern United States and northern Mexico suffers from a “mega-drought”. And it’s also linked to climate change.
“This has been the driest 22 years in the past 1,200 years,” said UCLA hydroclimatologist Park Williams. Williams recently led a mega-drought studyPosted in Natural climate change.
He said mega-drought conditions that were drying up water reservoirs in the United States were making it harder for Mexico to meet its water shortages.
“We share some of the same climate, but we also share some of the same water,” Williams said. “So over the past 23 years, as we have seen our largest reservoirs empty, this puts Mexico and Mexican agriculture at risk of being even more water constrained than they already would be.”
It’s hard to say that climate change caused the drought, Williams said, but it certainly made it worse. His research estimates that around 40% of drought can be attributed to human-induced climate change.
Still, Williams said we can make a huge difference by limiting the severity of climate change.
“Limiting global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius puts us in a much better position than if we let global warming go down to 3 or 4 degrees Celsius.”
So keeping Sriracha warm may depend on keeping the planet cool.
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