Amid a chili shortage, some customers of Huy Fong Foods’ sriracha have expressed discontent with the sauce currently sold on the market, saying it tastes different from how it used to.
Background: Huy Fong Foods has been grappling with a lack of chili peppers since April 2022 — one that it claimed to be worse than a similar shortage in July 2020. The company attributed the problem to a record drought that has affected farms in California, New Mexico and Mexico, where it sources the peppers.
The shortage has resulted in exorbitant prices for bottles sold online. Earlier this year, Huy Fong Foods said in a statement to CNN that “some production” had resumed in the previous fall, but they continued to have a limited supply.
What buyers are saying: Some recently took to Instagram to complain about the company’s new batches of sriracha bottles. Most of them claimed that the sauce tastes different.
“Your new sauce doesn’t taste the same. The old [one] is better. This one isn’t good,” one user commented earlier this month under the company’s latest post in August.
“I have new bottles and it’s not the same, not as spicy and pungent,” another noted.
“Stuff tastes terrible now,” another wrote. “Why change the recipe?”
More recent comments on an Instagram page called @asiansneverdie expressed similar sentiments. One user said their local supermarket is selling the old and new bottles at different prices.
“There’s a supermarket near me that sells different prices for the new batch vs the old batch. And [when] placed side-by-side, the color is indeed off,” the user shared.
“This new one is more orange, sweet and spicier. The original is more red, thicker and has that OG taste,” one user described. “Definitely not the same.”
Previous legal battle: Other users blamed the severance of business between Huy Fong Foods and its supplier of 28 years, Underwood Ranches, for the shortage. In 2017, Huy Fong Foods filed a lawsuit claiming that it had overpaid the farm $1.46 million for crops in the 2016 season.
Underwood Ranches filed a countersuit, and in 2019, the legal battle ended with the farm winning a $23.3 million verdict. However, they also had to pay back the amount Huy Fong Foods said they had overpaid, according to CNBC.
What Huy Fong Foods is saying: Huy Fong Foods has not announced a specific end to the shortage, but its Instagram post in August says, “Production is limited, but it’s back!”
The company has yet to address the alleged differences between the old and new sriracha bottles.