If you look in the refrigerator of an Asian person living in America, you’d probably see the familiar: eggs, broccoli, butter, and orange juice, but also the unfamiliar: watercress, mustard greens, preserved-duck eggs, and, of course, sriracha sauce. California based company “Huy Fong Foods” is responsible for the once niche product often used by Asian consumers across the country. Sriracha has been a part of my diet for as long as I can remember; we would dribble the sauce onto noodle and rice dishes—adorning plate after plate with the unmistakable bright red condiment. The taste is as recognizable as its color. It’s tangy and very spicy, sweet and intense; the perfect mix of flavors to create a sauce that never goes bad. Recently, red-hot companies have taken interest in Sriracha’s popularity and addictive taste. Subway has been experimenting with a sriracha-based sauce in Southern California locations. Walmart started selling the sauce in many of its stores outside of California. How did such a little company with humble beginnings get the attention of two of the largest global companies, Subway and Wamart?

Notably, David Tran, owner and CEO of Huy Fong Foods does not spend any money on advertisements. His website was last updated in 2004, and he does not have a Twitter or Facebook account. In the current marketing environment, the attitude is certainly that without social media accounts, your company is doomed to die a fast and invisible death. How did David Tran survive so long without spending a dime on advertising? He equates his success to one simple fact: his sauce…tastes good! If a product you sell is actually worth buying, then people will actually buy it. No amount of expert marketing or social media intervention can save a company with a bad product. When it comes down to it, marketing and advertising have to come after a solid product has been created.            ]

The marketing didn’t have to be done by Tran himself—his fans became his spokespeople. Sriracha themed paraphernalia such as lip-balm, underwear, iPhone cases, tee shirts, you name it, have been created as an homage to what is quickly becoming everyone’s favorite hot sauce. Sriracha brings a fresh new face to the stagnant hot sauce market. McIllheny Co’s Tobasco sauce has been an American staple for the past 160 years. Americans are looking for a change and have found it in Sriracha! The sauce has also been the centerpiece of cookbooks and featured in America’s hottest restaurants such as Momofuku Noodle Bar in New York City.

Huy Fong Foods is moving to a larger factory in Irwindale. The factory is one of the larger buildings constructed in Los Angeles County in the past few years. How much more sriracha can Huy Fong Foods make? We’ll just have to wait and see.

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