Pink is the color of the summer. From the runways to the screen, it is everywhere — even in the kitchen. “Pink sauce,” a Pepto-bismol-colored dipping sauce, has taken the internet by storm. Last month, a private chef and influencer who goes by Chef Pii on TikTok shared a video of herself dipping a chicken tender into a bright pink, savory sauce of her creation. The clip immediately caught onto the TikTok algorithm, gaining 850k views. Pii herself gained over 150k followers on her TikTok account. The internet went wild wanting to know about the rose-colored condiment.
Pii soon gained tens of thousands of followers as she posted burgers, salads, and more foods covered in the Pink Sauce. After a week of virality, Pii started promoting a commercial launch of her sauce with taste tests and giveaways. On July 1 at 11:11 am, the first batch of Pink Sauce went on sale for $20 a bottle in clear plastic containers with yellow lids.
But what actually is the sauce? According to the website, the main ingredients include water, honey, sunflower seed oil, dragon fruit, milk (which has since been changed to dry milk), and garlic. It’s clearly savory, maybe a little tart, but Chef Pii never explained its taste. When asked about it on TikTok, Pii said “honestly, it has its own taste. If you want to taste it, buy it.” Sounds reassuring.
Immediately after shipping out the first bottles of Pink Sauce, Pii faced criticisms and questions from the internet en masse. First, TikTok followers were wondering why the shade of pink kept changing from batch to batch. One customer would receive a hot pink sauce but the next would receive a light coral one. In a Youtube video, Pii said that she changed the color from the hot pink to the lighter shade in response to customer comments.
On top of that, some bottles of Pink Sauce were shipped in bags (rather than boxes) and some claimed the packages exploded during shipment. One Twitter user wrote, “buying PINK sauce that has an unknown flavor and is being shipped in BAGS during summer heat is definitely a choice.” Followers were also concerned that the bottles weren’t shipped with refrigeration and didn’t include refrigeration instructions. (The LA Times notes that there are now refrigeration directions.) Other Twitter users surmised that customers were getting sick from the lack of refrigeration. Pii told the Washington Post, “I’ve been using it and serving it to my clients for a year — no one has ever gotten sick.”
In my opinion, the most striking claim is that there are 444 servings of sauce per bottle. Each serving is one tablespoon. That’s 28 cups of sauce in a relatively small bottle. Pii later cleared that mistake up, mentioning that the label was actually supposed to read 444 grams per bottle and 30 servings. Pii owned up to the typo in a Youtube video.
It all came to a head when one TikTok follower asked Pii on a livestream if the sauce was FDA approved. Pii responded saying, “What do you mean FDA-approved? I don’t sell medical products.” Many then took to Twitter to point out that the FDA is the Food and Drug Administration. However, the FDA does not pre-approve food before it can be sold, the way that it does for medication — but it can regulate foods that pose safety issues.
This past weekend, Chef Pii made a statement on TikTok, writing that the Pink Sauce team is “dedicated to providing our current and future customers with clear, unambiguous, and accurate labels and descriptions of the Pink Sauce and its ingredients that meet and exceed FDA guidelines.” Pii also informed customers via email of delays as she works through the “allegations and claims” against her product.
All we can do now is just wait and see what happens with Chef Pii and her Pink Sauce. Let this be a lesson, though, in not believing — or eating— everything you see on the internet, no matter how pretty it looks.
Image: Giada Canu / Stocksy.com