Culture

Pink Sauce: What Is the Latest TikTok Food Trend?

On a median day, it’s laborious to not scroll by means of your TikTok For You web page and be met with a barrage of stomach-churning food traits. Just a few months in the past, the public was captivated by “Spokane-style pizza,” a (utterly made-up) concoction of mozzarella cheese, strawberries, and canned salmon; simply final month, health-conscious TikTokers have been attempting “healthy Coke,” a pattern that concerned dousing seltzer with balsamic vinegar to purportedly attempt to mimic the iconic beverage (spoiler: it doesn’t work). And let’s not even talk about the people who make milkshakes in toilets for clout.

Yet for a variety of causes, over the previous few days one food pattern has come to dominate all of them: Pink Sauce, a product created and marketed by a lady who goes by Chef Pii. Known for her brilliant, Pepto Bismol-hued concoction, which reportedly options such elements as pitaya (dragonfruit), uncooked honey, and pink Himalayan sea salt, Chef Pii rode the wave of success on TikTok for a while, with many customers raving about the novelty of the sauce, if not about the way it really tastes. Yet over the previous few weeks, she’s confronted quite a few questions on the elements, packaging, and advertising and marketing of the sauce, prompting a much bigger social media-based food scandal than when a Bon Appetit himbo was called out for potentially promoting botulism.

@chef.pii

♬ OMG – White Gangster

For the previous month, Chef Pii has been laborious at work selling her pink sauce, drizzling it on numerous meals and promoting it for $20 a bottle. And it’s clear why it’s attracted a lot consideration: with its eye-popping hue and millennial-bait packaging (which a couple of commenter has identified resembles the emblem for Victoria’s Secret’s Pink label), it’s the good food pattern to seize the consideration of an ever-fickle algorithm.

Yet over the previous few weeks, questions have gathered about the promotion of the product, particularly the incontrovertible fact that Chef Pii, who didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark, has been cagey about disclosing precisely what it tastes like (in a single video she posted, it’s in comparison with “sweet ranch” however can be labeled as “spicy”; in one other, she stated, “It has its own taste, if you wanna taste it, buy it.”). Furthermore, in movies posted by prospects, the hue and the consistency of the sauce gave the impression to be considerably variable, although this might pretty simply be attributed to adjustments in angle or lighting.

Such critiques hit a fever pitch, nonetheless, when creator @seansvv posted a video questioning particulars about the labeling of pink sauce. While he began the video by saying he needed to help entrepreneurs and small-business homeowners, “if someone gets sick from this, I am scared for the person who gets sick and the person who owns this business,” he stated earlier than exhibiting a Pink Sauce bottle label that appears to point that it incorporates 444 servings of the product, at 60 calories per serving of a few tablespoon — a close to mathematical impossibility.

Sean additionally factors out the label had numerous misprints, together with the misspelling of the phrase “vinegar,” and that the dietary particulars will not be available on the web site — one thing that ought to be common sense for any food entrepreneur to incorporate, and that presumably falls short of FDA packaging standards (there’s a label that reveals the product’s elements on the web site, however you need to zoom in to see it, and it nonetheless incorporates the misprints identified by creators like Sean). Indeed, Chef Pii didn’t initially embrace elements on the label in any respect, saying in a video in June that her workforce was doing “quality testing to ensure that we get the best quality out to you guys to have minimum to no complaints,” with out specifying in the video exactly what these elements have been.

@seansvv

@slay has an awesome video diving into food security and rules for shelf steady merchandise. #thepinksauce #legal #shelfstable #preppertok #cottagelaw

♬ original sound – SEAN [They/Them]

From there, the skepticism surrounding Pink Sauce continued to mount. One creator who had bought a bottle of Pink Sauce for themselves claimed that not solely was the product improperly packaged, however that it smelled “rotten” upon arrival and barely contained the marketed quantity of Pink Sauce. Others identified that though Chef Pii listed milk as certainly one of the elements for Pink Sauce, the label didn’t function any instructions concerning refrigeration, nor does the product label seem to incorporate any preservatives to stop spoilage as can be anticipated for many dressings.

@jptheworst

theres one thing odd about #pinksauce #thepinksauce

♬ original sound – The Sauce Boss

@r8ch3ll

#pinksaucereview @PINK SAUCE QUEEN 👑💖🤤

♬ original sound – Kaylen🤭

At first, Chef Pii went considerably on the defensive, saying in a video, “My apologies, I’m only human, I’m not perfect” and “this is a small business that is just moving really, really fast.” Regarding the label, she stated that the “grams got mixed up with the serving size” on the label and that there are 444 grams of Pink Sauce per container, and that any merchandise shipped out going ahead would comprise correct labels. She added that whereas her workforce is “following FDA standards,” she is at present in “lab testing,” which is able to allow her to pitch Pink Sauce to shops. The FDA additionally didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark, nevertheless it requires condiment producers to register as a food facility and observe particular dietary label pointers, per its website.

In an interview with the Daily Dot, Chef Pii addressed a few of the extra particular allegations about Pink Sauce, similar to the improper delivery procedures, saying the packages bought “smushed” in transit and that she’d be switching to a different delivery company.  She additionally stated Pink Sauce incorporates sufficient natural preservatives, similar to citric acid and vinegar, to make sure that it might efficiently face up to cross-country journey, and that she used 2 p.c powdered milk, not complete milk. “I guess when you’re great, you can’t make a mistake, but, I mean, yeah. My team is working quickly to fix the issues,” she stated. “We had some delays with getting into our facility and stuff like that. We had shipment issues. However, we’re working rapidly to fix all the problems.”

Indeed, a part of what makes the outcry over Pink Sauce so notable is that lots of the creators who’ve commented are cautious to acknowledge the difficulties of being an entrepreneur and small business proprietor, notably as a lady of colour, whereas additionally stating the errors made alongside the manner. Some creators have gone as far as to border the story for example of the Girl Boss trope run amok, or that it represents the apotheosis of social media scam culture. Far extra doubtless, nonetheless, is the easy rationalization {that a} small business proprietor, emboldened by a hypercharged TikTok algorithm and an viewers primed to embrace bizarre and wacky food traits, merely grew too quick, and is paying the value now by turning into right this moment’s Main Character.

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