The Heat Is On: The Rise of Sriracha Sauce, and Its Ubiquity In Kosher Products
As BTUS readers are well aware, kosher tastes have evolved significantly from those depicted in yesteryear’s renditions of traditional Jewish fare. As kosher has become mainstream for consumer products not targeted specifically for an ethnic audience, the need for manufacturers to accommodate new tastes into kosher has been something we at OU Kosher are well positioned to assist with.
You may have noticed over the past few years that one of the most exciting new flavors food manufacturers are experimenting with is sriracha. This spicy Thai sauce (purported to have been first produced by a Thai woman named Thanom Chakkapak in the town of Si Racha [or Sri Racha], Thailand ) is made from chili peppers, vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt and used in Asian cuisine as a condiment and dipping sauce. Though the sauce has been bottled in the U.S. since the 1980s, the public has seen its rise in popularity in the past few years, and it has been found in more and more food applications every year.
While the craze was still in its early stages, food manufacturers looking to cash in on the pungent flavor found that the original sauce was not kosher certified, and the availability of acceptable substitutes was relatively small. Since the ingredients used in its production are quite simple and easy to substitute, the only issue was finding industrial suppliers who could blend or prepare the base material for consumer goods manufacturers to procure. OU Kosher worked closely with flavor and spice companies to formulate kosher versions of sriracha-flavored powders for industrial use, as well as with liquid sauce manufacturers looking to replicate the special flavor in its traditional form.
As of today, there are more than 150 products listed on www.oukosher.org containing the word sriracha. While the obvious entries are various sriracha-flavored sauces, products using sriracha range from Angies BOOMCHICKAPUFF Sriracha Sour Cream snacks; Cedar’s All Natural Sriracha Hommus; Chicken of the Sea’s Sardines in Sriracha Sauce; Hampton Farm’s Sriracha Almonds; Krunchers!; Sriracha Kettle Potato Chips; Sugar Plum Chocolate’s 72% Chocolate Bars; and Skotidakis Goat Farm’s Sriracha flavored Greek Yogurt Dip. As consumer tastes evolve, you can be sure OU Kosher will be there assisting food manufacturers to bring those flavors to the kosher consumer.
Rabbi Chaim Goldberg has been manning the fish desk at the OU for 13 years, managing 350 OU certified manufacturing plants and traveling to five continents to inspect and establish kosher protocols at processing plants of all types. Rabbi Goldberg’s tackle box can be found in his family home in Brooklyn, NY.