Brace yourself for bland bánh mì and uninspiring eggs: droughts in southwestern North America have sparked a worldwide shortage of sriracha sauce.
Back in April 2022, the maker of the iconic spicy sauce, Huy Fong Foods, announced that freakish weather conditions are impacting the quality of chili peppers and they’re now facing a “severe shortage of chili.”
As such, they’ve been forced to delay orders of the sauce until September 2022. The shortage of peppers is also set to affect the supply of their other popular spicy products including Chili Garlic and Sambal Oelek.
“We understand that this may cause issues. However, during this time we will not accept any new orders to be placed before September as we will not have enough inventory to fulfill your order,” the statement said.
The California-based food company told Axios it gets its chili peppers from Mexico, the northern stretches of which are currently in the grips of an exceptional drought, along with parts of the western US.
One driver of the drought has been persistent La Niña conditions in the tropical Pacific that have lingered since the summer of 2020. During La Niña, cooler tropical Pacific waters lift the jet stream northward, resulting in fewer rainstorms hitting this part of the world.
There is also the problem of — you guessed it — climate change. It’s no secret that recent years have seen increasingly dry and hot weather bake the lower portions of North America. Research has suggested that this region is currently in the midst of a 22-year-long “megadrought,” the most severe drought in at least 1,200 years.
There are a few factors driving this megadrought, but it’s clear that global warming has greatly exacerbated the problem. One study estimated that human-caused climate change is responsible for about 42 percent of the soil moisture deficit since 2000.
As inconvenient as this sriracha shortage may be, this is just a drop in the ocean of how the climate crisis will impact North America. Climate change has already added considerable stress to the population and the environment through floods, droughts, heat waves, wildfires, and an uptick in other extreme weather events.