How do products have ‘secret recipes’ if they need to disclose the contents on the packaging?


How do products have ‘secret recipes’ if they need to disclose the contents on the packaging?


Yes, but you just get the raw ingredients. But what you are mixing together and how you do it is important. Recipes arent just a list of ingredients. So they may have a certain mixture or way of making the product.

Proprietary blends could be a possible answer. Ingredients have to be listed, in order of greatest amount to least, but individual amounts don’t have to be specified.

A recipe is also amounts and procedures and not just the ingredients. I do find it odd that they can say “Spices…” and get away with that though. Companies are certainly free to try and reverse engineer things, but that can be very hard to get it right.

A company can also patent their product and get legal protections for a number of years, however they have to disclose the exact process for making the product which is then up for grabs when the patent expires A secret recipe, like Coca-Cola, is just a closely guarded secret and if someone discovers it then they can do what they want with it.

They don’t have to disclose the amounts of each ingredient, often those that make the most difference are listed as “natural flavors” or “spices”, and they don’t list anything about techniques used in the recipe (mixing/cooking, etc. methods and such)

Think about it this way. A cake is flour, eggs, butter and vanilla.

Knowing those ingredients can you make a cake?

You can try but the amounts are a very important part of any recipe and you have no idea about any processes that may go into the cake. Do they roast the vanilla? Put the eggs in first or last? It’s a mystery.

Even if the colonel had to disclose the secret 11 herbs & spices the only thing usually required by law is to list ingredients in order from most to least, so that leaves a lot of room for possibilities.

If your ingredients are “eggs milk butter and flour sugar”, there are different ways they can be combined, in different proportions and different orders and with different techniques, that you can get different results.

It’s like saying “if all cars are basically just pistons gears and tires why is a Bugatti different from a Ford?”

**Please read this entire message**

Your submission has been removed for the following reason(s):

* ELI5 requires that you search the sub for your topic before posting.

There are absolutely no exceptions to this rule.

Users will either find a thread that meets their needs or find that their question might qualify for an exception to rule 7.

Please see this [wiki entry]( for more details (Rule 7).

If you would like this removal reviewed, please read the [detailed rules]( first. If you still feel the removal should be reviewed, please [message the moderators.](