It’s been called “the new ketchup” for Americans, and while some critique it for being a cultural flash-in-the-pan (or plate, as it were) for hipsters, there’s no question that it’s very much a spicy ketchup. It can be used in many situations that ketchup can for a bit of an extra kick, such as hamburgers, french fries, and even hot dogs (if you’re the kind of person that puts ketchup on hot dogs).
In America, most Sriracha comes from one company: Huy Fong Foods. They’re the creator of the iconic bottle with a rooster on the front and a green cap atop, and they’ve been ordered by the city of Irwindale, California, to stop production.
Simply put, there was a lawsuit was brought upon the company due to complaints about smell. Eater reports that the judge on the case has ruled that the odor from production of the sauce appears to be “extremely annoying, irritating and offensive to the senses warranting consideration as a public nuisance.”
The results of the case force Huy Fong Foods to stop doing anything that may be making the odor, alongside attempt to mitigate the smell.
What does this mean for the restaurants that stock the condiment?
Huy Fong Foods isn’t hanging up their hat; they may move their factory, figure out a new way to produce it without the smell, or come up with a way to remove the smell once produced. In any case, they may have produced enough chilis for the next year that any results from the change may not be seen for a while.
It could cause a run on the product, which would only accelerate the rush to to clear out the shelves of it. It’s also not the only Sriracha on most shelves, so restaurants might have to get an alternative.
The worst case would be that Huy Fong Foods can’t deduce a new manufacturing method that removes the smell from the equation. In that case, expect Sriracha to be on the outs for a bit, but much like Hostess Twinkies, it’d never go away.
You may want to look into reworking recipes that have it on your menu, or even consider other table-side condiments that might meet your specific desire of spice and garlic for your customers.
How hot (pun intended) is Sriracha to the American market? Phillips Distilling Company has announced the release of UV Sriracha Vodka, according to Business Insider. The vodka is infused with red and green chilis, vegetables, and garlic, and will provide the perfect amount of heat for drinkers looking for some spice with their vodka.
Could you live in a world without Sriracha? While it’s unlikely that we’ll fully lose the spicy condiment, it may see a few shifts in the next few years.