Secret ingredient

Secret ingredient

A secret ingredient is a component of a product that is closely guarded from public disclosure for competitive advantage. Sometimes the ingredient makes a noticeable difference in the way a product performs, looks or tastes; other times it is used for advertising puffery. Companies can go to elaborate lengths to maintain secrecy, repackaging ingredients in one location, partially mixing them in another and relabeling them for shipment to a third, and so on. Secret ingredients are normally not patented because that would result in publishment, but they are protected by trade secret laws. Employees who need access to the secret are usually required to sign non-disclosure agreements.

Famous secret ingredients

*Merchandise 7X the "secret ingredient" in Coca Cola. The ingredient has remained a secret since its invention in 1886. The description of the ingredient is kept in a vault at the Trust Co. Bank in Atlanta.

*KFC's Colonel's secret recipe, created by Colonel Sanders in the 1930s. The recipe, which used to be advertised as containing "eleven herbs and spices", remains locked in a vault in Louisville, Kentucky. []

*Special sauce, the variant of Thousand Island dressing used in the preparation of a McDonald's Big Mac hamburger.

*Frank's Red Hot, the secret ingredient in the first Buffalo wing sauce.

* The "theme ingredient" on the original series "Iron Chef" (the primary ingredient with which competitors prepare their dishes) is called the "secret ingredient" on the successor series "Iron Chef America".

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