She has drowned a drumstick, shrimp, and tacos in the ketchuplike substance — and straight-up lapped it out of a glass container, indulging in the revolting excess seen in viral food videos that may or may not be “sploshing” fetish content.
The sauce appears in colors ranging from the light pink of Pepto-Bismol to the hot pink of the Barbie movie marketing campaign. The taste has been compared to ranch dressing, but the main flavor ingredients are purportedly dragon fruit, sunflower seed oil, chile, honey, and garlic. Pii promises that it is “edible and natural.” She is selling it for $20 per bottle.
Pii told BuzzFeed News “the negative narrative is becoming a bit much.”
“I feel like Madonna or Beyoncé just tripped onstage and I woke up with their phone in my hand,” she said. “I’m good though. Only the strong survive.”
Pink sauce discourse has bled from TikTok to Twitter, and it’s vastly critical. People have criticized her misspelled ingredients, angel-numbered nutrition labels, refrigeration instructions, shipping practices, and food safety protocols, questioned the authenticity of her recipe, and so on. People are anticipating “fighting demons on the toilet” from what seems to be “a clusterfuck of bad decisions.” At least one person who claimed they received the product said it smelled “rotten.” A friend of mine texted me that they “keep gagging but watching more videos … it’s like pimple popping.”
“You really saw a woman making bubblegum buttermilk ranch in her kitchen in a Minja blender and you was like, yep, now's the time to support small businesses, I'll take three. Not me!” TikToker Demetrius Fields said in a post. “I saw her and was like, fuck her dreams. And that's why I'm alive and you're in the ER.”
Food influencers have come under fire for risky recipes, like Bon Appétit’s Brad Leone, who was accused of putting his audience at risk of contracting botulism. Food safety is no joke, and the harm that unregulated cuisine can accidentally cause can be deadly. But there is no indication that there are any safety issues with the pink sauce product, nor any reports that anyone has been ill after eating it.
“It’s just trial and error like any other business — but since I went viral, I didn’t get the chance to let it unfold like everyone else,” Pii told BuzzFeed News. “We’re on a mission to show our customers that we care about their health and don’t want to put them in harm’s way.”
Other influencers have faced backlash for selling poorly made products or not delivering on what they advertised. But so far, Pii is neither of those things — at least she wasn’t before the backlash. She’s not backed by a media company or making the profits through a well-known empire, but she has been overwhelmed by the same vitriol reserved for random internet villains like West Elm Caleb and Couch Guy.
Before her pink sauce posts blew up, Pii had fewer than 1,000 followers on TikTok — too few to even livestream. She now has 50,000 followers, which pales in comparison to the millions of views and posts that pink sauce has inspired. She began posting food- and weight loss–related videos on YouTube four years ago, but none of them have topped a couple hundred views.
“This turned into a product overnight, but I wasn’t able to verbalize my plan for it like a regular individual. I’m not an influencer,” she said. “Before this, TikTok didn’t know me from anyone else.”
“This is a small business that is moving really fast,” she says in one video. “We are following FDA standards, however. We are currently in lab testing. … I’m a passionate person, but I’m listening to y’all.”
She told BuzzFeed News that it has been hard to have so many people call her a scammer, but she’s determined to overcome it and put out the best possible product.