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Coca Cola´s secret formula

MiM/MITB

Strategic Management

Fernando Flores Bas

ESCUELA SUPERIOR DE GESTION COMERCIAL Y MARKETING


Coca Cola´s secret formula

Coca Cola’s formula, elaborated by John Pemberton, is famous due to being one of the
best kept secret in the XXth century. In 1977 the company preferred to leave India
before giving out the formula to the local government, which insisted on having it. But
Mark Pendergrast, who researched the historical archives of the company, suddenly
found what seemed to be the famous formula. Pendergrast revealed the original
composition for the first time in 1993 in his book For God, homeland and Coca Cola:

Caffeine citrate, 1 oz. (28,35 grs.)


Citric Acid, 3 oz.
Vanilla Extract, 1 oz.
Lime Juice, 1/4 gallon, (1 gallon =3,785 litres)
Aromas, 2,5 oz.
Sugar, 30 lb. (1 lb. = 453,6 grs.)
Fluid coconut extract, 4 oz.
Water, 2,5 gallons
Mix caffeine, the acid and the limejuice in a quarter of boiling water. Add the vanilla and
the aroma extract once the mixture is cold.
Aroma extract: orange essence, 80. Lemon essence, 120. Nutmeg oil essence, 40.
Cinnamon oil essence, 40. Coriander essence, 40. Neroli (fresh flower of the orange
variety) essence, 20. Alcohol, 1 qt. of a gallon.
Leave to rest for 24 hours.
This composition has been slightly modified sometimes. The aroma extract is the key
factor in Coca Cola. It seems that only two employees are aware on how to mix these
components. These employees must travel to Cidra, Puerto Rico and Drogheda, Ireland,
in order to re-state stocks of the aroma extract which is supplied to all company
subsidiaries around the world.
Pendergrast comments the reaction of a Coca Cola top executive when he asked what
would happen should the formula be edited and another competitor would appear.
How would they name the new product, asked the Director?
Well, they couldn’t name it Coca Cola because you would sue them. Let’s suppose they
would name it Yum-Yum and that they would clearly explain, without exposing
themselves to a judicial lawsuit, that Yum-Yum really was Coca Cola’s original formula.
“Very well, then, what? What would they gain? How would they start distributing the
product? And advertising? Do you realize where I want to take you?”
“We have dedicated more than 100 years and enormous amounts of money to
consolidate the assets of this trademark. Without our massive production and our
incredible dominion of the market anyone who intended copying our brand would get
nowhere. And the cost of their product would have to be too expensive. Why would
people buy Yum-Yum, which is in fact the same as Coca Cola but more expensive, when
they could buy the authentic Coca Cola anywhere in the world?

Source: Pendergrast, El País 9.5.2003

ESCUELA SUPERIOR DE GESTION COMERCIAL Y MARKETING