Posted February 4, 2005 by Nick Lindauer in Hot Sauce News

Huy Fong Sriracha Sauce Being Copied

This fiery red sauce, brimming with the scent of jalapenos and garlic, is a little too hot.

With its proud red rooster-labeled bottle and sinus-searing kick, Huy Fong sriracha sauce has become a prized condiment for Asian food aficionados. Its potency has powered the sauce to annual sales of tens of millions in dollars each year.

But at the same time that popularity attracts foodies, it has also lured pirates. Foreign counterfeiters have begun producing nearly perfect duplicates of the sauce’s bottles, though not its distinctive taste.

Huy Fong Foods Inc., the Rosemead-based company that manufactures the sauce, has resorted to unusual lengths to find out who’s behind the dastardly deed.

The saucieres have hired private investigators and filed lawsuits against former customers to find out how they laid hands on the hot hot sauce.

The damage from the bootlegged bottles extends beyond just lost sales, cutting into future revenue and damaging the brand’s image. The fake sauce containers look virtually identical, aside from minor differences on the green cap and a missing ‘Huy Fong USA’ embossed on the bottom. The taste doesn’t measure up; consumers blame the company.

In an ironic way, having the sauce’s brand name ripped off means that Huy Fong has arrived in the food world, according to Sarah Thorn of the Grocery Manufacturers of America.

Counterfeiting raises a more sinister possibility, as well. Since bootleggers only consider looks, not food safety, the fakes could potentially sicken customers who think they’re getting a fully-tested product.

Nick Lindauer

The Original Hot Sauce Blog