Pop! Gourmet founder David Israel was a pretender with perfect timing.
For years, food manufacturers have courted Huy Fong Foods-the creator of iconic red Rooster brand Sriracha hot sauce for a licensing agreement. The Californian company, strengthened by the love of his sectarian color Scarlet chilli dressing, avoided any offers, preferring, as it was for over three decades, to remain independent and focused on its core products.
But when Israel, whose company is known for high-end flavored popcorn, sent a letter in November 2013 to Huy Fong CEO David Tran, had no idea that the creator of Sriracha was in hot water.
The first product of the Pop! Gourmet partnership.
Israel’s surprise, Tran has accepted the idea of a partnership, praising the Pop! Gourmet champions Israel had sent along.Days later, popcorn magnate received another surprise: Huy Fong has been involved in a bitter struggle with officials of Irwindale, California, spicy fumes above supposedly emanating from its plant there.
Boy, was my timing good? Absolutely, Israel said The Huffington Post on Friday. They did feel that I had the right approach? Obviously there is a level of trust there.
This week, Pop! Gourmet has unveiled a new line of branded products Huy Fong Sriracha. The first, true to the companys core brand, is a spicy popcorn, bearing the insignia of Red Rooster synonymous of Huy Fong. Over the next two months, the company will launch the Sriracha taste hummus, mayonnaise and ketchup, too.
The move beyond the main wheelhouse sauces comes as Huy Fong, which has since resolved the issues in Irwindale, is facing heated competition from more famous rivals.In may, Tabasco-perhaps the most recognizable brand hot sauce in the United States–launched a copycat brand Sriracha sauce, even adopting the same scheme of red, white and green, made popularized by Huy Fong on his bottle. Last month, the food giant Heinz released its take on the Asian hot sauce with a Sriracha ketchup.