Never mind the WikiLeaks fallout for U.S. foreign policy. Today’s kicker question at a National Press Club luncheon: how do you protect Coca-Cola’s famously secret formula from WikiLeaks, the online site now uncloaking a trove of previously hush-hush U.S. diplomatic documents.
“I guess that we have to have better systems than the U.S. State Department,” quipped Muhtar Kent, Coca-Cola Co’s chief executive. The world’s largest soft-drink maker’s efforts to keep the formula secret are a matter of legend.
Kent said Coke’s recipe was known to only a few people and kept in a vault in Atlanta, Georgia, where the company has its headquarters. He said he wouldn’t know what to make of it even if he were to try to figure it out.
“It’s on a piece of paper,” Kent said. “I’m not a food scientist or an engineer — and I wouldn’t know what all those letters meant.” Coke, meantime, is riding high.
The maker of Sprite, Fanta, Minute Maid and vitaminwater said volume in its once-ailing North America market rose 2 percent in the third quarter. That follows a 2 percent rise in the second quarter, which was its first increase in more than two years.