10 Trade Secrets We Wish We Knew

Twinkie Recipe
The Twinkie recipe: even more sought-after as its maker filed for bankruptcy. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Ah, Twinkies, that delightfully spongy, creamy snack of childhood. Old television ads tout their health benefits: "Hostess Twinkies give your child energy to go on, plus protein to grow on." "The inside has a super-delicious cream filling." "Hostess Twinkies supply whole egg protein for rich, red blood" [source: Ettlinger]. Yet despite the snack's popularity, the manufacturer, Continental Baking Company (now Interstate Bakeries Corporation), never wanted to reveal what made the snack, invented in 1930, so tasty.

Steve Ettlinger, author of "Twinkie, Deconstructed,"came up with a list of 39 ingredients in Twinkies, without cooperation from Interstate Bakeries Corporation. He notes there's no cream in the cream filling, and maybe 1/500 of an egg in each cake. So much for the snack giving us rich, red blood. The manufacturer's response was to note that millions say Twinkies simply taste great [sources: Ettlinger, DailyFinance].

Not surprising, says Scott Testa, assistant professor of business at Cabrini College. Companies often keep information secret that they don't wish the public to know about or misconstrue. When you're handing your child that tasty yellow snack, do you really want to dwell on the fact that it's created from ingredients like polysorbate 60, high-fructose corn syrup, Red #40 dye and sorbic acid [source: Ettlinger]?