What Is the Pink Sauce Controversy on TikTok?

A lot of people are mad about a $20 sauce they bought on the internet.

Pink bottle with the word "pink" on it

The Spruce Eats / Julie Bang

In the latest iteration of “TikTok made me buy it,” Pink Sauce—a Pepto-hued condiment created and sold by a Florida chef—has taken the internet by storm. And like any other viral product, this one has its fair share of scathing reviews. Put another way? A lot of people are mad about a $20 sauce they bought on the internet. 

Not quite sure what to make of the whole ordeal, or haven’t heard about Pink Sauce to begin with? Here’s what you need to know about the product and the controversy behind it.

What Is Pink Sauce? 

The creator behind Pink Sauce is a 29-year-old Miami, Florida-based personal chef Veronica Shaw, who goes by Chef Pii. Apparently, she’s been whipping up the sauce for clients for more than a year, long before it blew up on TikTok this summer. Shaw told the Washington Post she’s used it to dress up fried chicken, French fries, and veggies. She’s also posted about dressing salad, lamb chops, and what appears to be a McDonald’s hamburger with the hot pink sauce.

What Makes Pink Sauce Pink? 

According to the ingredient list on the Pink Sauce website, the sauce contains dragon fruit, sunflower seed oil, honey, chili, and garlic. The sauce’s pink hue allegedly comes from pitaya, or red dragon fruit.

What Does Pink Sauce Taste Like? 

Unless you’ve tried Pink Sauce yourself, there’s no way to know what it tastes like—Shaw hasn’t revealed that yet, citing she simply “can’t describe it.” Customers say it tastes a little bit like Ranch, but not necessarily in a good way. Some buyers complain it tastes like “watered-down” version of the fan-favorite condiment. 

What's the Controversy Around Pink Sauce? 

After Pink Sauce blew up, the complaints started rolling in— and so did the TikTok critiques. First, buyers complained about receiving damaged bottles and rotten-smelling sauce, which Shaw blamed on a faulty, now-solved shipping process. 

TikTokers picked up on other packaging errors, too. For starters, the product label once listed that it contained 444 one-tablespoon servings (that adds up to nearly 28 cups or 224 ounces, which would be 14 pounds of sauce). Apparently, the label also misspelled  “vinegar.” People also complained their Pink Sauce looks lighter than pictured in videos. Shaw told Glamour that’s on purpose—like beets, higher concentrations of red dragon fruit can turn poop a red-tinged huge, which can be alarming to consumers. 

Most significant are the accusations about the product’s safety. The original bottle listed milk as one of the ingredients, without directions to refrigerate the product, sparking concerns about the Pink Sauce going bad. Allegedly, it also doesn’t contain preservatives, which would theoretically shorten its shelf life and pose significant health risks. (While most complaints revolve around bloated bottles, One video shows black chunks floating in the sauce. The jury’s still out about whether it’s real.) 

Commenters also wonder whether Pink Sauce is made in a hygienic environment and even sold legally. Shaw assures consumers she makes the sauce in a commercial facility, follows FDA standards for food safety, and that her team is still diligently testing the product, which she plans to eventually sell in stores. For now, Pink Sauce, which retails online for $20, is sold out.