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Sriracha lovers are now buying this bottle at Costco

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Customers still struggling to get ahold of Huy Fong Foods’ sriracha are reportedly getting their fix from a rival brand that costs cheaper at their local Costcos.

Driving the news: Huy Fong Foods has faced a shortage of its famous green-capped sauce since 2022 after chili pepper suppliers in California, New Mexico and Mexico experienced record droughts. The Irwindale-based company previously sourced its peppers from Underwood Ranches — also in California — for 28 years, but their business relationship ended with a legal battle that resulted in a $23.3 million award for the farm.

The shortage of the sauce has since led to exorbitant online resale prices and missing bottles in restaurants. Huy Fong Foods has allayed concerns with announcements of limited supply, but some who manage to snag new bottles have complained about its taste.

“Your new sauce doesn’t taste the same. The old [one] is better. This one isn’t good,” one customer commented in August.

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Enter Underwood: Underwood Ranches, based in neighboring Camarillo, has stepped into the hot sauce market with its own sriracha. While Huy Fong Foods has a rooster for its iconic logo, Underwood stamps its bottles with a Chinese dragon.

What customers are saying: Frustrated by the shortage and/or the alleged “different taste” of Huy Fong Foods’ sriracha, some customers have begun looking out for alternatives. Tabasco, for one, had the bestselling sriracha in the U.S. by the end of 2023.

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Underwood’s sriracha is emerging as a viable contender. Last week, a Costco shopper took to Reddit to share their store find: a two-, 17-ounce (482-gram) bottle pack for $8.

“Looks like another copycat sriracha, except that it’s made by Underwood Farms. Huy Fong sriracha sauce has been basically non-existent since they had a falling out with Underwood, who had previously been growing all their peppers,” wrote Reddit user maxyedor.

Users expressed support for the new product, which has also been spotted in Austin and Indiana Costcos. Some said they like it more, with one declaring it as "the Sriracha."

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Still, one user argued that having peppers from the same farm does not make it original, as "there is more to the spice than just peppers." Another suggested that Huy Fong Foods’ new sauce tastes the same as its old recipe.

What's next: Huy Fong Foods' current production capacity is unknown. As of November 2023, the company said it was still dealing with a limited supply of raw materials, but more bottles have reportedly begun arriving in shelves in the past weeks.

At the same time, the impact of Underwood's sriracha remains to be seen. The dragon-bearing bottles sell for $23.50 for two in the company's online store, making the ones at Costco apparently cheaper.

 

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