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‘I miss it so much’: Island sriracha lovers lament lack of fave brand

The familiar brand with the rooster and green cap has been missing from shelves
Huy Fong Foods brand of sriracha has been hard to find this year due to drought conditions in the U.S. (Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Sauce and spice lovers in Greater Victoria have felt the heat searching for a familiar green cap and rooster on the bottle in stores.

Victoria resident Celestial Burlow says she hasn’t seen the classic sriracha brand in any store she’s visited in a while.

“I miss it so much, though. I’m just curious if anyone else has been able to find any or knows if it’ll ever come back,” said Burlow in a Facebook post.

Huy Fong Foods, the maker of sriracha’s most popular variety, has faced production issues since 2020. The company has cited that because of a lack of red jalapenos due to weather issues and drought, they were forced to suspend the production of sriracha for a short period.

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For over 40 years, Huy Fong Foods has made its world-famous sriracha hot sauce, which comes from California, so iconic that many believe it is the only authentic sauce on the market when, instead, it is just the most recognized.

Residents have been giving one another tips as to where they have found the specific brand for themselves.

Jennifer Loo, fundraising coordinator for Fairway Market, says the current shortage is more of a delivery issue.

“It is a distribution issue, and there are other sriracha brands on the market,” said Loo. “This group is from the U.S., and we do not have a contact to share as we receive products from a contracted distributor third party.”

Loo added that they have various brands of sriracha that consumers can try out during the shortage to keep some spice in their lives.

The popular sriracha brand does not sell directly to consumers, making the exact date of its abundant return to Canadian shelves difficult to determine.

Noelle Wardell, a representative for Quality Foods, declined an interview but did confirm they have the product coming in, albeit in smaller volumes than in previous years.

“I have spoken with my purchasing team,” said Wardell. “I can confirm that we absolutely do carry it, and we are experiencing the shortage.”

Canada has been dramatically impacted because about 20 per cent of the total crop imports come from California alone, and generates an estimated $2.8 billion per year. Wine, strawberries and almonds were California’s top exports to Canada in 2020, according to Statistics Canada.

As we move past the growing season in Canada, some growers may be able to fill some of the gaps, but a limited supply means the country may have to continue to rely on our southern neighbours for the spicy red elixir.

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