TikTok creator Chef Pii (@chef.pii) is the connoisseur behind a mysterious pink sauce that has taken over the Internet, seeping into both discourse and memes. The saga is as enigmatic as the so-called sauce, one that internet sleuths and users alike have put into question. So what’s going on?
The pink sauce fever
The TikTok chef began promoting the pink sauce sometime in June, slowly releasing a string of videos featuring the sauce, trying it with different foods, and displaying the packaging. The sauce is priced at $20 and quickly became a craze. But this is largely because Chef Pii refused to share how exactly the sauce tasted. She often had other reviewers do so, but provided cryptic answers herself.
The obscurity of the sauce and its true flavor had commenters digging deep: Questions ran from “What is it exactly?” to “What herbs are in the pink sauce?”. People also began to point out that the color of the sauce shifted with each new video. From millennial pink to a Barbie-esque hue, the sauce never appeared consistent, according to The Internet.
In late June, Chef Pii even released a TikTok addressing that concern, chalking up different colors to the respective lighting in each of her videos. A day later, she revealed the ingredients within the sauce, posting a graphic outlining each of them: dragon fruit, sunflower seed oil, honey, chilli and garlic.
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Nutritional labels – and errors
Creator @sseaansvv sparked further questions yesterday, delving into the pink sauce saga and releasing multiple, detailed videos about the creation of the sauce and the drama that ensued. The TikTokker called out “Pink Sauce Lady” for errors in her nutritional label and how hard it was to discover the label on her website.
They also said that “there are not enough preservatives” within the sauce “to make shelf stable”, or foods that can safely stay within a pantry for at least year without having to be cooked or refrigerated.
Credit: Screenshot: TikTok / @sseaansvv.
In the caption for his second video, Sean SVV wrote, “I’m genuinely rooting for her to obtain a license, fix the labels, correct any errors and then sell out — legally”.
TikTokker @annareportsnews also posted a video the same day, marking the serving size per container as unrealistic and denoting that the label doesn’t say the sauce needs to be refrigerated.
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires manufacturers of dressing and condiments to obtain food facility registration. Standards set by the FDA include labeling, testing methodology, manufacturing practices, and scientific protocols. In April 2022, the guidelines for nutritional fact labels on food and drink products was updated for the first time in 20 years. Serving size is amongst the updates for the label. The FDA now emphasizes the information in bigger and bolder font, and requires the number to “better reflect the amount people typically eat and drink today”.
However, the FDA doesn’t have pre-market approval for food products.
Following these videos – and consequential internet mania – Chef Pii addressed her followers in a video captioned “WE ARE FIXING THE ISSUES”.
Credit: Screenshot: TikTok / @chef.pii.
She apologized for the label errors (“I’m only human”), and stressed that the nutritional labels will be fixed for all future bottles of the sauce purchased. She also said she appreciates the support her sauce has received, that she is operating a small business, and that she is trying to lower the price of the sauce.
The nutritional label is also readily available for viewing on her site now, which previously didn’t seem to be the case.
“Yes, we are following FDA standard,” she continued in the video, stressing that the product is still in “lab testing”. Chef Pii concluded by speaking of her ambition to place the sauce in stores.
Twitter memes keep coming in
The Internet has become somewhat obsessed with the pink sauce in the past 24 hours. People are posting everything from memes to analysis, while others are simply expressing the desire to try the sauce. On Twitter, “Pink Sauce” is currently trending.
Even Netflix has posted about the sauce, becoming another brand to stay on top of viral (and random?) digital trends. The pink sauce really did take over. It’s a testament to the faster-than-ever trend cycle that we now deal with – but also the Internet’s affinity for uncovering “mysteries”, no matter how small.
But the tale doesn’t end there.
Last week, Chef Pii took to Instagram Live, YouTube, and (of course) TikTok to address users’ concerns multiple times over the past week. Her 52-minute YouTube video garnered over 60,000 views. She also spoke to multiple media outlets, including Buzzfeed, NBC and the Washington Post, defending her creation and discussing her newfound fame-slash-notoriety.
Notably, during her live session on Instagram, she said, “What do you mean FDA-approved? I don’t sell medical products. The Pink Sauce is not a medical product. The Pink Sauce don’t contribute to your health.”
That response got Twitter stirring once again, causing “F in FDA” to trend across the app.
On July 27, all pink sauce customers were sent an official email with new terms and conditions. According to Vice, the email read, “Dear Pink Sauce Supporters, we are working to overcome all issues. With the surrounding allegations and claims against the Pink Sauce, we want to take the time to ensure each customers safety. We are working, meticulously, to ensure we have no further delays in shipment.”
Chef Pii continued, explaining that she is now cooperating with the FDA and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, saying she is awaiting on official approval for the sauce and updating the packaging to ensure “preciseness”.
UPDATE: Jul. 29, 2022, 3:57 p.m. EDT Added details about Chef Pii’s responses on social media and to media outlets.