COCA COLA'S SECRET FORMULA
The Coca-Cola formula is The Coca-Cola Company's secret recipe for Coca-Cola. As a publicity marketing strategy started by Robert W. Woodruff, the company presents the formula as one of the most closely held trade secrets in modern business that only a few employees know or have access to. In reality, experienced perfumers and food scientists - today aided by modern analytical methods - can easily identify the composition of food products.
The basic, generic “cola” taste of both Coca-Cola and other competing cola drinks results from a blend of vanilla and cinnamon flavoring. The small differences in taste that distinguish one cola-flavored drink from another result from the inclusion of small amounts of other flavoring ingredients. Contrary to popular misconception, kola nut extract is not a prominent ingredient in cola-flavored drinks.
Published accounts say it contains or once contained sugar, caramel, caffeine, phosphoric acid, coca leaf and kola nut extract, lime extract, flavoring mixture, vanilla and glycerin. Merchandise 7X is the "secret ingredient" in Coca-Cola and has remained a secret since its invention in 1886. The description of the ingredient is kept in a security vault in a bank in Atlanta, Georgia. Alleged syrup recipes vary greatly, and Coca-Cola reluctantly admits the formula has changed over the decades. The formula was changed in 1935 with the help of Rabbi Tobias Geffen of Atlanta to allow it to be certified kosher.
In a much-publicized corporate disaster, Coca-Cola introduced New Coke in 1985. After public outcry, the recipe was restored to the original "classic" formula.
Amateur sleuths have tried to reverse-engineer the production process and ingredients. The secret formula is the subject of books, speculation and marketing lore. The company consistently claims that all published recipes are incorrect.
Purported secret recipes
This recipe is attributed to a sheet of paper found in an old formulary book owned by Coca-Cola inventor, John S. Pemberton, just before his death (U.S. measures):
This recipe does not specify when sugar, coca, caramel or the rest of the water are added.
Source: Mark Pendergrast. For God, Country, and Coca-Cola: The Definitive History of the Great American Soft Drink and the Company That Makes It. New York: Basic Books, 2000. ISBN 0-465-05468-4.
This recipe is attributed to pharmacist John Reed.
This recipe is from Food Flavorings: Composition, Manufacture and Use (2nd Ed.) 1968 by Joseph Merory (AVI Publishing Company, Inc., Westport, CT). Makes one U.S. gallon (3.8 L) of syrup. Yield (used to flavor carbonated water at 1 fl oz per bottle): 128 bottles, 6.5 fl oz (192 ml).
One should be aware that today, Coca-Cola production employees do not dry the cocaine extract as listed above. Quoting from Early Years of Coca-Cola: "... the coca leaves used today are "spent" leaves - the leftovers of the cocaine-extraction process - and therefore the drink contains no trace of the stimulant." However, it is impossible to completely remove all traces of the coca stimulant and small amounts still exist in the drink today.
JULY 5 2006
NEW YORK - Federal prosecutors charged three people on Wednesday with stealing confidential information from Coca-Cola Co. - including a sample of a secret new drink - and trying to sell it to rival PepsiCo Inc.
The three, who include an executive administrative assistant at Coke, were charged with wire fraud along with stealing and selling trade secrets. Federal prosecutors in Atlanta say the trio sought to sell the information in deals worth as much as $1.5 million.
Federal prosecutors said Coke learned of the theft from Pepsi, which provided the company with a letter from an individual claiming to be a high-level Coca-Cola employee offering "very detailed and confidential information."
"We just did what any responsible company would do. Competition can be fierce, but it also needs to be fair," Pepsi spokesman Dave DeCecco said.
On hearing from Pepsi, Coke alerted the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which began an undercover operation.
"While this breach of trust is difficult for all of us to accept, it underscores the responsibility we each have to be vigilant in protecting our trade secrets," Neville Isdell, chairman and chief executive of Coke, the world's largest soft drink company, said in a memo to employees.
Isdell said in the memo that no personal employee information was at risk and said he has ordered a review of Coke's information protection policies. He also expressed his "sincere appreciation" to PepsiCo, the No.2 soft drink maker, for alerting Coke about this security breach.
Coke spokesman Ben Deutsch said the closely guarded formula of Coca-Cola Classic was safe. He added that he wasn't aware of any similar security breach in the company that involved an investigation by federal prosecutors.
Following the undercover investigation, prosecutors named Ibrahim Dimson, 30, of Bronx, New York, Edmund Duhaney, 43, of Decatur, Georgia, and Joya Williams, 41, of Norcross, Georgia in the criminal complaint filed by the U.S. District Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia.
They said phone records and further investigation showed Williams, an executive administrative assistant at Coke, was the source of the information. Coke's Deutsch confirmed that Williams was an executive assistant to a senior manager but didn't reveal the manager's name.
Video surveillance showed Williams at her desk going through files in search of documents and stuffing them in her bags, prosecutors said.
She was also observed holding a liquid container with a white label, which resembled the description of a new Coca-Cola product sample before placing it into her personal bag, authorities said. The company later verified the sample was genuine.
"Coke is a highly ethical company with a culture of deep decency but every apple has a bad seed," said John Sicher, editor of trade magazine Beverage Digest. "This is about one relatively low-level employee who, if the allegations are true, acted stupidly."
According to prosecutors, on May 19 PepsiCo provided to Coke a copy of a letter in an official Coca-Cola business envelope postmarked from the Bronx. The letter was from an individual who called himself "Dirk" claiming to be a high-level Coke employee with confidential information.
During the investigation, "Dirk" provided an undercover FBI agent with 14 pages of Coca-Cola documents the company later identified as valid and highly confidential, prosecutors said.
"Dirk" asked for $10,000 for the documents and later agreed to be paid $75,000 for the purchase of a highly confidential new product sample, prosecutors said.
The three were arrested the day a $1.5 million deal to sell other trade secrets was scheduled to take place, prosecutors said.
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