The Pink Sauce creator Chef Pii
A TikTok food sensation could soon be transitioning onto grocery shelves. Social media influencer Chef Pii has partnered with food company Dave's Gourmet LLC to bring her The Pink Sauce condiment to market.
With more than 181,000 TikTok followers, Miami-based Chef Pii attempted to launch her creation -- which is said to include dragon fruit, honey, sunflower seed oil, chili and garlic -- to an eager public in July, but got tons of blowback along with orders. The 29-year-old entrepreneur’s lack of commercial food production knowledge led to significant obstacles, including customer complaints of spoiled sauce deliveries and unstable packaging.
Dave’s Gourmet discovered this controversy soon after it started going viral on various social media platforms and decided to help. After multiple meetings with the Dave’s Gourmet team, Chef Pii entered into an exclusive partnership whereby Dave’s Gourmet assumed responsibility for producing The Pink Sauce on a commercial scale under the required food manufacturing guidelines, as well as selling the product to foodservice, retail and e-commerce channels in the United States and internationally.
“Our R&D team was able to reformulate the sauce to match Chef Pii’s exact color and flavor profile for the product, and at the same time change some of the ingredients to make the sauce less complicated, dairy-free, and clean of any preservatives, artificial colors or flavors,” said David Neuman, president of Dallas-based Dave’s Gourmet. “The public will end up receiving a shelf-stable version of the sensational sauce that Chef Pii envisioned in her Miami kitchen.”
Chef Pii will continue driving the social media aspects of the business and will participate in all of the major steps of commercial production of the fluorescent sauce.
Given Dave’s Gourmet’s long history in the pasta and hot sauce markets, the company’s involvement with Chef Pii has given The Pink Sauce immediate credibility as a viable and safe food product, and the company is in talks with a few major retail chains about selling the viral product. “Production is planned for this fall,” said Neuman, “We are working 24/7 to make it happen.”
“This product is not only a social media phenomenon, but actually enhances the food it is used with as a condiment,” noted Jade Steger, marketing director for Dave’s Gourmet. “People are intrigued by its bright-pink color and unique taste. It can be paired with pretty much any savory food, creating a playful visual appeal and enhancing the flavor of the dish. This product resonates with the Millennials and Gen Xers who both adore Chef Pii’s vibrant personality and are curious about the delicious and playful condiment that she created.”
[Read more: “How Gen Z and TikTok Are Shaping Food Trends”]
“The youth of today have their fingers on the pulse of what their contemporaries want but may not have the knowledge, ability or capital to bring a product idea to market quickly, safely and on a large scale," added Neuman. “Look for the jaw-dropping Pink Sauce on various e-commerce platforms, in restaurants and on major food retailers’ shelves soon. We are excited and striving to make The Pink Sauce a household name!”
Chef Pii’s social media accounts have amassed more than 154 million video views on TikTok, nearly 2 million video views on Instagram, and more than a half a billion people have used the #pinksauce hashtag on TikTok. The website https://thepinksauce.com/ has a simple “Stay Notified” opt-in function, and in the first week it received thousands of submissions.
Chef Pii hasn’t been the only TikTok star influencing food trends. After 29-year-old Emily Mariko posted a TikTok video last year showing how to make a “salmon rice bowl,” Google search trends for Kewpie brand Japanese mayonnaise — her mayo of choice — quadrupled. Kewpie mayo, sriracha and seaweed also started to disappear from grocery shelves. Mariko now has almost 12 million followers on TikTok; before the salmon rice bowl video in September, she had a mere 50,000.