TRUFF, the global sauce sensation, is coming in hot with another product: a long-awaited black truffle oil. Packed with gluten-free and mostly vegan ingredients, the TRUFF roster includes a paradigm-shifting line of reimagined and elevated pantry staples but now brings its main ingredient front and center.
Founders Nick Ajluni and Nick Guillen talk with CELEB about their journey in developing TRUFF’s brand, including a carefully crafted social media presence and a long list of celebrity advocates. From sauces to Instagram and Oprah, TRUFF just may be the world’s most influential sauce.
Following the success of their hot sauce, the Nicks and TRUFF continue to top themselves. What is there to improve when you already have an impeccable condiment like a truffle hot sauce? Well, why not dive into pasta sauce. TRUFF made the leap from hot sauce to pasta sauce, and then mayo, and finally, truffle oil. Guillen and Ajluni share how customers are eating up their products outside the hot sauce category as well. Here’s how it went down.
TRUFF’s Latest Launches
“We looked at pasta as something we could actually make an incredible product in first and foremost and then something we felt we could bring flair to the category” says Ajluni. “There’s definitely room to do what we did with hot sauce in the pasta world. We spent more than a year trying to make what we thought would be just an absolutely great pasta sauce in two versions—Black Truffle Arriabbata and Black Truffle Pomodoro.” And with that being said, the birth of the TRUFF Pasta Sauce came to be in November 2020.
Also, in February 2021, TRUFF released their own mayonnaise. Ajluni and Guillen were strategic about this move since mayonnaise is the number one selling condiment in America. Labelling their mayo as TRUFF’s first non-spicy product allowed them to expand to an even broader customer base. Equally important, the mayonnaise addition was a gamechanger for TRUFF since there aren’t really many mayonnaise innovations out there. TRUFF mayonnaise has two varieties: standard truffle and spicy truffle.
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Finally, TRUFF’s latest product launch happens to be a Black Truffle Oil release. Although TRUFF was the first to create a truffle-infused hot sauce brand, they didn’t start off with the standalone truffle product. All their products—hot sauces, pasta sauces, and mayonnaise—contain truffle as the main ingredient. But the TRUFF team just released their Black Truffle Oil on April 23, a highly anticipated drop among their loyal fanbase. “Black Truffle is our foundational ingredient; it puts the truff in TRUFF” says Ajluni. “Its unique shape inspired our iconic lids and its delicate flavor inspired our unique creations. After years of exploring the experience of truffle condiments, we’re excited to let them shine on their own.”
TRUFF’s origins come from a single Instagram page, with a handle called @sauce. You read that right. A digitally native brand, TRUFF made its way to global recognition through strategic social media marketing. Guillen and Ajluni built their social media presence early on in their development, aiming to create organic content that stimulates people. Not only do they interact with their customers on their socials, but they also promote their brand in the least transactional way.
Take one look at their Twitter or their Instagram, and you’ll feel like you’re following one of your favorite artists. The tone is conversational and the design is flawlessly attractive. TRUFF popped off on social media with its introduction in 2017. Their brand is a rarity as their social handle serves as a double entendre: it’s sauce in the most multifaceted way ever.
Like the product itself, TRUFF’s website and socials offer an aesthetically curated feed. A simple sleek black logo and bold white ‘TRUFF’ text highlights the cofounders’ love for streetwear and hip hop culture. Detailed recipes, insane partnerships and mouthwatering teasers illuminate the page. This is undoubtedly one of the reasons why TRUFF became the fastest growing hot sauce company, pushing the envelope on the elevation of the dining experience.
The Story Behind TRUFF: The World’s Most Influential Sauce
Ajluni and Guillen met in college, and had different businesses in the past. They did business plan competitions together, learning to build an idea off of necessity. Noticing a lack of direct-to-consumer hot sauce brands, Aljuni and Guillen got to work.
“We try not to be too traditional,” says Ajluni. “Going with our gut is super important here. There’s definitely the best practices, but rules are meant to be broken. And we’re cognizant of that. We make sure we’re never putting ourselves in a box of how things have always been.” In the age of resisting to be categorized, TRUFF definitely follows suit.
“I think it’s tapping into the resources that we have, but also going with our gut and making sure everything continues to align with everything that we know” says Guillen. “TRUFF stands for the highest quality ingredients we could source, the best tasting product, things that we think our customers really like.”
TRUFF is based in Huntington Beach, Calif, the Nicks recently moved to Austin, Texas and they’re continuing to build their retail business. “There’s no limit to what we can launch, but we’ve never been a brand that wants to be all things for all people,” says Guillen. “We want to do a few things and do them, really really well. I think we’ve done a really good job of staying focused.” TRUFF’s product portfolio grew over 300 percent, and amassed waitlists of more than 10,000 customers for its new product expansions. Today, there are over 8,000 stores worldwide that carry TRUFF products.
TRUFF prioritizes transparency about their ingredients to their customers. Their products are gluten-free and non-GMO, which has beneficial health and fitness perks. Finding even more ways to create more genuine customer relationships, they created an app for the company. The app offers exclusive TRUFF recipes, shopping options and cooking tutorials. Additionally, members can collect points and receive discounts in their loyalty program. Just by signing up, you receive 25 points automatically.
Oprah And Other Celebrities Love TRUFF
Many celebrities have come to TRUFF’s advocacy, flexing their newly attained goodies on social media. One celebrity in particular—Oprah—endorsed the brand, bringing more worldwide appeal to TRUFF. “Put it on everything. Give it to everyone” Oprah announced. “We were put on Oprah’s Favorite Things, they flew Nick and I out to interview and Oprah surprised us on camera,” says Guillen. “I think that’s going to be a moment that we’ll definitely share for the rest of our lives.
There’s also been a lot of other amazing people in the culinary world. People in popular culture have also given us some love.” On their Instagram page, they have a highlight titled “DON’T @ ME” that reposts stories of people flexing their TRUFF sauces. Celebrity jewelry Ben Baller, actors Storm Reid, Josh Peck, and Rubi Rose are among some of the names featured. Others include DJ Politik, Karrueche, Jason DeRulo, Lil Jon and Steve Aoki.
TRUFF has also been recognized by notable news outlets and magazines. It was featured on the Today Show, Good Morning America, The Rachael Ray Show and Food & Wine. TRUFF was listed as part of Oprah’s Favorite Things for two years in a row. Foodbeast, Hypebeast, and Variety have also written about them. Additionally, TRUFF made it as the No. 1 best-selling hot sauce on Amazon and Whole Foods Market.
Everyone Has Sauce, But Not Everyone is Dripping
Ajluni and Guillen crafted a sauce brand for everyone. TRUFF does more than put a spin on the classics. Both a pantry staple and an Insta/Snap-worthy delight, their products prove that you don’t need a luxury lifestyle to have a luxury meal. “Go-to ingredients shouldn’t be boring” Guillen says. “That’s why we’ve been committed to adding exciting and luxurious products to our customers’ kitchen arsenals from the start.”
Anyone can elevate their dining experience, even with an upscale condiment. We can’t wait to see what to see what they come up with next.
TRUFF Truffle Oil is now available nationally at TRUFF.com and can be found on Amazon, Whole Foods Market, Shaw’s, Giant, Sprouts throughout the coming months. Follow @sauce on Instagram or visit TRUFF.com for more.