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Wendy's Is Discontinuing This Fan-Favorite Item

And a controversial replacement is already available.

Tough luck for Wendy's. After debuting its new Ghost Pepper Ranch Sauce last week, a bold addition to the growing roster of signature sauces, the brand is now being raked over the coals for discontinuing another fan-favorite condiment. One step forward, two steps back.

Reports recently started to emerge about the chain getting rid of Spicy Sriracha, another heat-packing sauce that was beloved by many. And although Wendy's didn't explicitly link the release of Ghost Pepper Ranch with the retirement of Spicy Sriracha, fans have had no problem connecting the dots.

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Reactions on social media to the disappearance of the rich, sriracha-flavored dipping sauce, first introduced in 2015, have been overwhelmingly negative, with some customers swearing off Wendy's entirely:

Beyond anecdotal evidence, Business Insider has confirmed that Creamy Sriracha has, indeed, been retired and replaced by Ghost Pepper Ranch, after surveying a group of Wendy's operators in New York and receiving official confirmation from the chain's spokesperson.

In a company statement announcing the release of the new sauce, VP of Culinary Innovation at Wendy's John Li expressed pride in his team's work on the new condiment, and hoped that it would become part of Wendy's "legacy of spice that keeps fans coming back for more."

Reviews of Ghost Pepper Ranch so far have been mixed, with some enjoying the sauce's spiciness (the Ghost Pepper formerly held the Guinness World Records title of hottest chili pepper), while others, still hung up the retirement of Creamy Sriracha, have found the chili-based sauce a poor substitute for its predecessor.

This isn't the first time the Ghost Pepper has been featured on Wendy's menu, the world-record-breaking pepper having been a key ingredient in ​​Jalapeño Fresco Spicy Chicken Sandwich and Ghost Pepper Fries in 2015.

If Wendy's keeps pushing the envelope for quick-service restaurants in its use of nontraditional ingredients, fans might soon expect to see a "Carolina Reaper" sauce. And maybe they'll have gotten over Creamy Sriracha by then.

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Owen Duff
Owen Duff is a freelance journalist based in Vermont, home of Ben & Jerry’s. Read more about Owen