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Is there a national hot sauce shortage?

todayMay 25, 2024 3

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News of a potential pepper shortage affecting sriracha sauce has stirred up a frenzy among spice enthusiasts, but the producers of TABASCO are reassuring consumers that there is no need to start hoarding their favorite hot sauces.Huy Fong Foods, a California-based company specializing in sriracha, has faced years of supply disruptions and has previously blamed the production on jalapeño chili peppers. Mexico is the world’s leading producer of chili peppers, which require a sufficient amount of moisture and protection from extreme heat — two ingredients that have been hard to come by in much of Latin America due to a significant El Niño.Vast areas of the region have been experiencing drought conditions as the El Niño peaked in intensity during the late winter.Despite the apparent hostile growing conditions of many fruits and vegetables, including avocados and cucumbers, Louisiana based-McIlhenny Company has said it hasn’t experienced a shortage of peppers or an interruption in its sriracha production.”All Tabasco peppers come from seedlings on Avery Island and are shipped to our growers around the world. The red jalapeño peppers that we use in TABASCO Sriracha Sauce are grown in various parts of Latin America and Africa. Once the peppers are harvested and turned into mash, barrels are shipped back to Avery Island for blending and bottling,” a company spokesperson stated.NATIONAL PICKLE SHORTAGE TIED TO EXTREME WEATHER IN MEXICOAvery Island is situated along the Gulf of Mexico halfway between New Orleans and the Texas-Louisiana border, which adds another degree of risk to production – the threat of hurricanes.The region has seen direct impacts from hurricanes such as Ida (2021), Delta (2020), Gustav (2008) and Andrew (1992), but despite the storms, the company never recalls having supply issues.”The only shortage we are aware of in recent memory was in the 1960s when consumer demand rapidly increased, which put a strain on our pepper mash supply. To keep pace with the growing demand, we expanded our agricultural network to include growers in Latin America,” the company said.SRIRACHA FANS LEFT BURNED AFTER ‘UNPRECEDENTED SHORTAGE’ OF PEPPER CROP HALTS PRODUCTIONThe U.S. Department of Agriculture reports domestic chili production has significantly decreased over recent years, but other countries are able to offset the demand.In 2014, producers in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas grew more than 480 million pounds of chili peppers, but less than a decade later, production quantities had dropped to around 175 million pounds.Agricultural experts tied the reduction in U.S. production to reduced acreage and lower yields than what importers were capable of producing.Huy Fong Foods has not publicly stated when it believes pepper supplies will stabilize to keep up with its demand, but unlike products that are considered to be seasonal, hot sauce is a year-round commodity, with a U.S. market valued at more than $1 billion.

Written by: The Dam Rock Station

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