The secret recipe of corporate business – Yahoo! News

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The secret recipe of corporate business – Yahoo! News

Keeping corporate secrets — especially those of the delicious kind — is big business for, well, big business. Recently, KFC moved Colonel Sanders’ handwritten recipe while it upgraded security for the corporate gem. “It was very nerve wracking,” KFC President Roger Eaton told the AP. “I don’t want to be the only president who’s lost the recipe.”

But everybody knows that secrets want to be told, which is why recipe legends — and smart marketing schemes — surround so many of our favorite treats.

The number of executives who are allowed to know the recipe of the iconic soft drink has always been rumored to be two. And indeed, that is in Coke’s policy. But the real cloak-and-dagger fun began with the story that neither executive had the full recipe … each was granted only half. Snopes has a thing or two to say about that possibility. Namely, that it’s virtually impossible for that to be true.

Ernest Woodruff (he who was Coca-Cola from 1916 through about 1931) reveled in the secrecy of the formula, knowing that making a big to-do about it would convince the media — and thus the general public — that they were getting something really special when they bought a Coke.

And sure ‘nuf, Coke does plenty to perpetuate the myth, with marketing schemes galore. One commercial proclaims the formula is written on a grain of rice … in your grandmother’s purse … swallowed by a whale …. guarded by … oh, you get the picture. Another shows the devastation that would result from losing one of these alleged executives, but it ends with the comforting thought, “Thankfully, the formula’s safe. And so’s the world.” Well, alrighty then. If you’re still curious and a bit of a culinary wizard, Wikipedia lists a bunch of recipes proclaiming to be The One. And on a serious — and kinda sweet — note, when Coke workers stole company secrets in 2006 and tried to sell them to Pepsi, the rival soft-drink maker cooperated with the FBI to help nab the workers. Some secrets are worth keeping, after all.

Bush’s BEST Baked Beans
Sure, Coke’s done a great job perpetuating the sorta-secret formula myth. But our hats are truly off to the Bush brothers, who somehow made the ingredients in a can of baked beans a modern-day mystery. And they did it with the help of a golden retriever named Duke (the official Bush’s Best website notes that, in reality, he’s “a professionally trained, loveable dog” portraying Duke) who keeps trying to sell the closely guarded family recipe.

As Bush family lore goes, the original recipe was the brainchild of Kathleen Bush, who wouldn’t share the recipe with “a soul.” But her son Condon figured it out in the ’60s, put it in a can, then passed it on to his son Jay, who is now the spokesperson for Bush’s Baked Beans. With plenty of recipes proclaiming to be better than Bush’s, the family-owned corporation’s secrets have helped it stay in the public eye since 1908.

Everybody’s cookies
Almost everyone has a top-secret family cookie recipe. A fun highlight during the run-up to the presidential election was Family Circle’s cookie contest between the prospective first spouses. Last year, Cindy McCain’s oatmeal-butterscotch cookies beat out Michelle Obama’s shortbread treats. While cookies are serious business, it seems their creators enjoy what they do. Just ask Wally Amos, founder of Famous Amos and Chip & Cookie. He told NPR that love is one of the secret ingredients in his cookies. Another? He talks to his cookies. And if that doesn’t work? He breaks out the kazoo. We don’t think he’s kidding, either.

Of course, the most famous cookie story of all involves a trip to Neiman Marcus (or Famous Amos or Mrs. Fields or …) and a pricey bill for a chocolate-chip cookie recipe. The angry chain email in constant circulation claims to reveal the “secret” recipe that was mistakenly sold to the buyer for $250 instead of $2.50. While the recipe itself is reportedly quite yummy, it’s no company’s trade secret … and it’s a long-spun tale.

The Internet has certainly gotten in the way of all these delicious corporate secrets. There are books and websites dedicated to unlocking the secrets of our favorite corporate and restaurant recipes (Slurpee, we’re onto you!).


**Yahoo! News bloggers compile the best news content from our providers and scout the Web for the most interesting news stories so you don’t have to.

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