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Keeping Secrets

When a company has a distinctive product, it’s going to want to protect it from copycats. Isn’t that what a patent is for? Not necessarily, in the case of the following trade secrets, which are not patented.

If you don’t patent it, you don’t have to make public the ingredients, components, and/or manufacturing methods.

That doesn’t stop imitators from trying. In food and beverages, secrets can be reverse-engineered by amateurs and pros. Copycat make-at-home versions of many brand-name food items are available on the Internet, and there is also a series of “Top Secret Recipes” cookbooks by Todd Wilbur, who also sells his recipes individually online.

From one company’s blend of 11 spices to a beverage brand’s blend of 23 flavors and the “code books” behind a favorite breakfast food item, here is a rundown of the famous products made with secrets that competitors (or even just home cooks) would love to learn.

"Crime Inc.— Corporate Espionage"
Tune in: Secrets for SalePremieres Thursday, August 23rd 9p | 12a ET

By Colleen Kane
Posted 22 August 2012

ColorBlind | Digital Vision | Getty Images