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From TikTok to real life: Pink Sauce is headed to stores

No matter what you might have heard about Chef Pii’s controversial Pink Sauce, get ready for a relaunch.

A shelf-stable version of the dragon fruit-based condiment — which went viral on TikTok in July — is coming to stores this fall, courtesy of the established food company that Pii has partnered with.

“In less than a week, we nailed it!” David Neuman, president of Dave’s Gourmet, said in a press release last week. “Our [research and development] team was able to re-formulate 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.”

The Pink Sauce will be available “on various e-commerce platforms, in restaurants, and on major food retailers’ shelves soon,” Neuman said in the release. He said production is planned to start this fall, which begins Sept. 22.

Chef Pii, the Miami-based creator of the virally marketed sauce, got tons of blowback after she started selling it online July 1.

Disappointed customers complained of things like spoiled sauce delivered to their door. Typos on the label were called out, as was the inclusion of milk — it turned out to be dried — in a product that wasn’t refrigerated when it was shipped. Pii’s shipping methods were criticized, sometimes in very blunt, vulgar fashion, with bottles exploding on the way to their destinations.

Perhaps fortunately, the private chef’s stock ran out just as the online criticism was peaking.

Pii — pronounced “pea” — told the Washington Post last month that she had “been using [the sauce] and serving it to my clients for a year — no one has ever gotten sick.”

On July 29, she posted a note on social media saying the Pink Sauce team was “hard at work ensuring our Pink Sauce is safe and abiding by all food safety standards and guidelines” and looked forward to being able to fulfill orders soon. Then, on Aug. 5, she announced her partnership with Dave’s Gourmet. The official announcement from Dave’s hit media inboxes last week.

In its original formulation, the Pink Sauce had sold out online in days. However, Neuman said, Pii’s “lack of commercial food production knowledge led to significant obstacles, and she had to pause the production.”

Dave’s Gourmet currently markets a line of hot sauces and pasta sauces. They’re available through the website and at stores around the country. About two dozen stores in the L.A. area sell Dave’s Gourmet products, including some Vons, Albertsons, Erewhon and Sprouts locations.

“The whole reason why the Pink Sauce was created was to bring some excitement to food,” Pii said last Thursday on Instagram. The chef’s social media pages, most of all her TikTok, have been filled with examples of uses for the bright-pink condiment, which partly gets its vibrant color from dragon fruit. Even after the controversy erupted, she held firm to her belief in her unique product — the flavor of which she said she can’t quite describe.

Now, according to Neuman, “The public will end up receiving a shelf-stable version of the sensational sauce that Chef Pii envisioned in her Miami kitchen.”

Pii will continue to handle the social-media aspects of marketing the sauce.

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