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Why do companies keep their natural flavoring a "secret," what are they hiding?

What does the term "natural flavors" mean? What are companies hiding in their natural flavors?
One thought is that the company is secretly using preservatives and solvents to extract those natural flavors and don’t want anyone to know. That is a way to look at it. And I not saying that is not a valid concern.
What if those companies spend millions of dollars each year paying formulators to test various extracts all day long to come up with different flavor profiles that taste good, and they simply don’t want to share that proprietary information with competitors to prevent their competitors from stealing it?
We are currently working with a natural flavoring company to flavor a new product we have coming out to help with reflux/heartburn issues. For the ingredient to work it needs to be delivered in a powder into the mouth. The raw ingredients are two herbal extracts. They don’t taste bad unflavored, but they are also not delicious. We have had many flavoring houses flavor these herbal extracts. We will choose the best natural flavor profile we can. That flavoring house isn’t going to share with us beyond what they need to. Given how hard it is to find the right flavors for products, I also don’t want to show future competitors how the new product was flavored.
For a flavoring house to release the details to these flavoring systems would essentially be like KFC telling everyone what is in their 11 herbs and spices.
I've worked with these natural flavor houses for years. They spend as much time studying how natural flavors work together as my science team does in working through research data to come up with products that will work best. It's not an inexpensive, easy undertaking.

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