The Los Angeles Times reports on the continuing sriracha shortage, attributable to climate change that has led to hostile growing conditions for the chiles with which it is made. The iconic Huy Fong Sriracha sauce bottles are often out of stock, and "the situation is no better online, where virtually all Sriracha options are out of stock on Amazon. At one point, a two-pack of 17-ounce bottles was listed for over $160."
Some context from the Times story:
"Drought in Mexico is to blame for the shortages that have persisted for the last year, a phenomenon that experts warn will become much more common on a warming planet.
"For nearly 30 years, Huy Fong Foods — which goes through about 50,000 tons of chiles a year to make its Sriracha, chile-garlic sauce and sambal oelek — sourced all its peppers from Ventura County’s Underwood Ranches, until the parties parted ways over a bitter contract dispute that led to a multimillion-dollar judgment in favor of Underwood in 2019.
"Huy Fong now sources its chiles from multiple suppliers throughout Mexico, where severe drought conditions have curtailed crops and led to water shortages in many cities and towns.
"In a statement, the Irwindale company said it is 'still experiencing a shortage of raw material' and has no estimate when supplies will return. It produced some Sriracha in the fall, but output was limited."
- KC's View:
When I first read about the sriracha shortage, I must confess, I went out and bought a bunch of bottles - no shortage in the Coupe household. (Does this make me a hoarder? Should I be ashamed? Don't know. Not really worried about it.)
This is one of those cases where retailers not able to stock as much sriracha sauce as they'd like should use the moment to communicate the reasons why. Don't just leave a hole on the shelf. Don't just re-face things to cover up the shortage. Rather, find a way to explain why there is a shortage - maybe a shelf tag with a QR code that links to a page with an explanation and some recommended substitutions and recipes? And maybe the ability to be put on a waiting list for when the Huy Fong sriracha becomes available?
These are moments retailers can use to connect to shoppers, as opposed to disappoint them.