The Trade Secrets Blog

Following Trade Secrets Litigation

Famous 11 Herbs and Spices Trade Secret Being Moved is reporting that KFC, owner of one of the most famous corporate trade secrets out there–the secret handwritten recipe of 11 herbs and spices which exists on a yellowing sheet of paper signed by Colonel Sanders himself–is moving the recipe in order to revamp security. You can find the article here.

It’s always interesting to note the extremes that famous trade secret owners sometimes need to take to ensure that their trade secret remains secret. Similar to the secret recipe for Coca-Cola, only two company executives at a time know the 11 herbs and spices and their precise measurements.

Key graphs:

“So important is the 68-year-old concoction that coats the chain’s Original Recipe chicken that only two company executives at any time have access to it. The company refuses to release their name or title, and it uses multiple suppliers who produce and blend the ingredients but know only a part of the entire contents. . . .”

“For more than 20 years, the recipe has been tucked away in a filing cabinet equipped with two combination locks in company headquarters. To reach the cabinet, the keepers of the recipe would first open up a vault and unlock three locks on a door that stood in front of the cabinet.

Vials of the herbs and spices are also stored in the secret filing cabinet.

“The smell is overwhelming when you open it,” said one of two keepers of the recipe in an interview at company headquarters.

The biggest prize, though, is a single sheet of notebook paper, yellowed by age, that lays out the entire formula — including exact amounts for each ingredient — written in pencil and signed by Sanders.”

While the majority of the readers of this blog do not have to worry about such high security, it is always interesting to note when the protection of these major trade secrets arises in the news.


September 9, 2008 - Posted by | confidentiality, Trade Secrets | , , , ,


  1. I can officially confirm that one of the ingrediants definitely NOT included in the secret 11 is CHICKEN. See the attached:

    Comment by Middle Man | September 12, 2008 | Reply

  2. […] KFC Security Upgrade Complete Back in September I reported that KFC was temporarily re-locating their famous 11 herbs and spices recipe so that they could upgrade the security around it. You can find that report here. […]

    Pingback by KFC Security Upgrade Complete « The Trade Secrets Blog | February 10, 2009 | Reply

  3. Middle Man: Firstly, “ingredients”, secondly, I’m not going to get the click I used to go to your blog back but that doesn’t mean I don’t want it back. Thirdly, “officially” isn’t the right word based on your story, you can say it but you can’t officially confirm anything.

    Without focusing too much on the fact you’ve posted this comment a few times before I think I can see a huge flaw in your blogspam on both this post and the follow up (it’s the same comment and link posted on different articles which is when I start calling it blogspam).

    The flaw is this – in a recipe made up herbs and spices (11 of them) there actually SHOULDN’T be chicken. It’s not meant to be there because chicken is a kind of meat. If you see chicken being called a herb or a spice something is incredibly wrong.

    Comment by scotslawstudent | February 22, 2009 | Reply

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