Coca-Cola: And the secret recipe is ...
Radio show says Coca-Cola's formula has been hiding in plain sight
By Katie Leslie
Updated: 02/16/2011 12:09:25 AM CST
ATLANTA — It's a secret arguably as closely guarded as the president: the recipe for Coca-Cola. And it may have been outed.
"This American Life," a nationally syndicated public radio show, claims to have uncovered the ingredients to one of the world's most cherished sodas, and the show found it deep within the archives of a 1979 column in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Ingredients include coca, of course, as well as such surprises as coriander, caramel, neroli oil and cinnamon.
The story went viral within days of the Feb. 11 broadcast. By Tuesday, the show's website was shut down because of heavy traffic.
"I think other people are having the same reaction to this that I had when I first saw this article in the (Journal-Constitution). This supposedly secret recipe has been hiding in plain sight for 30 years," "This American Life" host Ira Glass said Tuesday.
Coca-Cola denies that "This American Life" cracked the code to it trademark soda. Coca-Cola's historian Phil Mooney participated in the broadcast and tasted their concoctions, said Coca-Cola spokeswoman Kerry Tressler.
" 'American Life,' along with many other third parties, have tried over time to crack our secret formula," Tressler said. "At the end of the day, there is only one 'real thing.' "
Beverage analyst John Sicher wasn't surprised by the frenzied popularity of the story but said anyone can replicate Coca-Cola, but not its brand.
"Today, anybody with access to a sophisticated chemistry laboratory could analyze the formula of Coke, but no one can call a product Coke other than the Coca-Cola Co.," said Sicher, editor and publisher of "Beverage Digest."
"The so-called 'secret formula' is a wonderful story of lore and mystery, but in reality, the value today is the brand, not the formula."