How can any ‘secret ingredient’ be a secret if equipment exists that can give a chemical composition of anything?



I know that there is machinery that can analyze the chemical contents of anything and make a pretty little list for a researcher, such as an apple. For products that have secret recipes, how are these secret ingredients not immediately found out with these machines via a machine giving a chemical breakdown? Can you not figure out where the “apple” is in there, or is it too mixed up to tell?

In: Chemistry

I cant give you a perfect answer but part of it is when you I clude it and how you prepare the ingredient. Roasting a red pepper with olive oil and spices before incorporating it in a meal versus steaming it wildly changes its flavor. Strips of pepper on a burger vs roasted pepper puree in the ground beef have the same ingredients but a vastly different impact. So while an ingredient may not be secret from chemical analysis you wont get the way it was prepared.

“Ingredients” are swimming soups of chemicals. Something as simple as “salt” or “glucose” is the exception, not the rule.

The machine might tell you, “This contains glucose, fructose, cellulose, trace DNA, some ethylene, some lignin, a bit of chlorophyll, and about 100 random volatile flavor compounds.” That does *NOT* tell you, “Apple,” let alone what kind, what preparation, how cooked, etc. It might be a weird quince with some antifreeze thrown in.

The real problem is, “Apple” isn’t a single chemical that can be easily spotted–it’s a whole mix of things. Some of those things will also be found in other foodstuffs, so if you just get a chemical breakdown of what’s in something, it’s very difficult to separate out what chemicals came from where.