A shortage of America’s favorite chili sauce has created a black market, with online sellers earning hundreds of dollars offloading the flagship.
For the past three years, a continuous shortage of chili peppers has impacted the production of sriracha hot sauce, with adverse weather conditions in the past year continuing to affect the quality of the chili crop.
Huy Fong sriracha sauce, the most popular brand in America, according to Instacart sales data– was particularly affected. In an email to customers last year, the company said that due to bad weather hitting its suppliers, it was now facing a “more serious shortage of chilli”.
“Unfortunately this is beyond our control and without this essential ingredient we cannot produce any of our products,” Huy Fong said at the time.
The impact of the shortage has hit grocery store shelves in recent months, with many consumers taking to social media to complain about the hole the unavailable sauce has left in their lives.
This shortage of Sriracha chili sauce is getting ridiculous now. These 4 bottles below were $16 total at $4 each. Now people are reselling them on eBay for $110 for the same 4 bottles. If you have any left over at your local Asian supermarket with the green cap bottle, hoard… pic.twitter.com/1RtamIAKl8
— Tommy Mustache ❤️❤️❤️ (@MoustacheTommy) June 22, 2023
Putting Sriracha on the list of things I won’t be able to enjoy for at least two years due to climate change. https://t.co/cNinQ8iJHJ
— Erik :: they 🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️ (@thecardsharp2) June 29, 2023
Since the Sriracha shortage, my food hasn’t been the same😖
— 𝔍𝔞𝔦𝔩𝔢𝔫𝔢 (@JaiForJoy) June 29, 2023
While many outlets, including Target, walmart and certain Amazon sellers – have few or no bottles of Huy Fong sriracha in stock, for those who have sauce they are willing to sell, the shortage has been a lucrative opportunity.
An Amazon seller is offer a two-pack 17 oz. bottles for $125, making it one of many retailers using the e-commerce platform to unload multipacks of the cult favorite at inflated prices above $100.
Usually a 17 oz. the bottle costs about $5.
On eBaythe cost of Huy Fong sriracha also increases.
One of the cheapest listings on the online auction platform sold 70 28 oz. $35 bottles. Another sells packs of 50 individual 7g sachets of sauce for just under $24 and has already had 79 sales.
At the other end of the price scale, an eBay user auction of a 28 oz. bottle by Huy Fong sriracha has so far bid up to $91, with nearly two days of bidding before the auction closes.
“I am selling these individually and have 10 bottles to sell,” the seller wrote on the listing page. “The expiry date is September 2024.”
Meanwhile, an eBay listing for a 12 28oz box. bottles of sauce fetched a bid of $415, auction closing Sunday. The seller claims in his announcement to have “more than a dozen boxes available” in addition to the one put up for auction.
Offline, physical grocery stores also increased their prices. A TikToker recently shared footage from inside an unidentified store where Huy Fong sriracha was being sold for $25.99.
“Can you believe it? It’s just gravy, it’s not supposed to be $26 for a bottle,” she said. “I hope everyone hangs in there during the shortage of sriracha.”
Huy Fong Foods, the sauce’s maker, did not immediately respond to Fortunerequest for comment. However, the company told CBS News that production had recently restarted, but said that was limited as it was still struggling with supply constraints.
“Unfortunately, we are still experiencing a shortage of raw materials,” the firm said. “At this time, we have no estimate of when supply will increase.”