Lucozade is a soft drink manufactured by the Japanese company Suntory and marketed. Created as "Glucozade" in the UK in 1927 by a Newcastle pharmacist, William Walker Hunter[1] (trading as W. Owen & Son),[a] it was acquired by the British pharmaceutical company Beecham's in 1938 and sold as an energy drink for the sick as Lucozade.[1] The company's advertising slogan was "Lucozade aids recovery".

Lucozade logo.png
TypeSoft drink
ManufacturerLucozade Ribena Suntory Limited (Suntory)
Country of originUnited Kingdom

A glucose–water solution, the product was sold until 1983 as a carbonated, slightly orange-flavoured drink in a glass bottle wrapped in yellow cellophane.[3] Pharmacists sold it, children were given it when ill, and hospital visitors would regularly arrive with a bottle.[4][5][b] It was rebranded as a "pick me up" in 1978[5] and as a sports drink in 1983 to associate it with health rather than sickness. The company switched to a plastic bottle and introduced a range of flavours.[3][9] As of 2016, a 500 ml bottle contained 62 g (15.5 cubes) of sugar, more than Coca-Cola.[10] In 2017, to avoid sugar tax, the drink was reformulated to contain 22.5 g of sugar per 500 ml of liquid[11] and the artificial sweeteners aspartame and acesulfame K.

In 1989 the Beecham Group merged to form SmithKline Beecham, which in 2000 merged to form GlaxoSmithKline. In September 2013 GlaxoSmithKline sold Lucozade and another soft drink, Ribena, to the Japanese conglomerate Suntory for £1.35 billion.[12]


"Glucozade" was invented by William Walker Hunter in 1927 in Newcastle; Hunter had taken over the business of pharmacist William Owen.[1][2] Hunter sold the product to Beecham Group in 1938 and it was eventually renamed to Lucozade.[1]

In 1953, a factory for the production of Lucozade products was opened in Brentford, which, until 2004, had an iconic sign seen on the side of the M4 motorway (now in Gunnersbury Park Museum).[13]

Lucozade originally was available in only one variety, which was effervescent with a distinctive sweet citric flavour. It was sold in a glass bottle with a yellow cellophane wrap until 1983, when Lucozade was rebranded as an energy drink to shift the brand's associations away from illness. The slogan "Lucozade aids recovery" was replaced by "Lucozade replaces lost energy". The glass bottle was replaced by a plastic (polyethylene terephthalate, PET) one. After the rebranding, between 1984 and 1989 UK sales tripled to almost £75 million.

In 1989 the Beecham Group and SmithKline Beckman merged to form SmithKline Beecham,[14] and in 2000 SmithKline Beecham and GlaxoWellcome merged to form GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).[15] In 2013 GSK put Ribena and Lucozade up for sale.[16] Suntory, a Japanese holding company, bought the brands in September for £1.35 billion.[12] At the time of the sale, the product was manufactured in England at the Royal Forest Factory in Coleford, Gloucestershire, in the Forest of Dean.[12]


Energy ProductsEdit

The following flavours are currently available in the UK:

  • Lucozade Original
  • Lucozade Orange
  • Lucozade Wild Cherry
  • Lucozade Apple Blast (launched in 2018)
  • Lucozade Pink Lemonade
  • Lucozade Caribbean Crush
  • Lucozade Pineapple Punch (Launched in 2018)
  • Lucozade The Brazilian
  • Lucozade Watermelon & Strawberry Cooler (Launched in 2019)

The following flavours are currently sold as Zero Energy products:

  • Lucozade Original Zero
  • Lucozade Orange Zero
  • Lucozade Pink Lemonade Zero (New for 2017)
  • Lucozade Fit Water
  • Lucozade Sport Raspberry
  • Lucozade Sport Orange
  • Lucozade Sport Orange (Low Cal)

The following flavours were previously sold in the UK:

  • Lucozade Alert Lemon Zing
  • Lucozade Energy Lemon
  • Lucozade Energy Wild Berry
  • Lucozade Strawberry
  • Lucozade Apple
  • Lucozade Graffruitti
  • Lucozade Blackcurrant Bliss
  • Lucozade Black Cherry
  • Lucozade Black Cola (Limited edition)
  • Lucozade Cloudy Lemonade (Limited edition)
  • Lucozade Melonade (Limited edition)
  • Lucozade Citrus Clear (Launched in 2003, but still available in Ireland only).

The following flavours are available in Australia:

  • Lucozade Original
  • Lucozade Orange

Purpose and effectivenessEdit

A stated purpose of sports drinks, which provide many calories of energy from sugars, is to improve performance and endurance. In an analysis by Matthew Thompson and colleagues from the Oxford Centre for Evidence Based Medicine, of 431 marketing claims of performance enhancement, most cited no evidence. 174 sources were cited for Lucozade; of them, Thompson found only three studies of high quality with a low risk of bias. The rigorous studies that did show improved endurance were "of limited relevance to most people because the tests were on elite athletes". Thompson said that for the vast majority of people drinking such products "could completely counteract exercising more, playing football more, going to the gym more".[17][18]

The drinks are marketed as soft drinks; a soft drinks industry spokesman said in response "By helping people participating in sport to perform better and to recover more quickly, sports drinks can encourage people to exercise more".[17]

In May 2016, Liverpool City Council started a campaign against so-called "sugary drinks". The "name and shame" campaign, entitled “Is your child’s sweet tooth harming their health?”, claimed that Lucozade was the worst offender, containing 62 grams of sugar in a 500 ml bottle, followed by Coca-Cola with 54 grams. Posters for the campaign "were displayed in doctors' surgeries and hospitals."[10]

In its original high sugar content formulation Lucozade was recommended by UK diabetes charities as an immediate treatment for hypoglycemia in individuals who take insulin.[19][20] Since its change to use of artificial sweeteners guidelines have been changed to state that Lucozade should not be used to treat diabetic hypos.[21]


While the ingredients vary somewhat from one drink to another, the ingredients of the Lucozade Original Energy, were listed as follows in 2013: carbonated water, glucose syrup (25%), citric acid (E330), lactic acid (E270), flavouring (unspecified), preservatives (potassium sorbate, sodium bisulphite (E-222)), caffeine, antioxidant (ascorbic acid), colour (sunset yellow (E110), Ponceau 4R). Since the reformulation to lower sugar in 2017 Lucozade Original contains the artificial sweeteners aspartame and acesulfame K.

A warning is printed on the packaging that the colouring may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children. Nutritional information for 380 ml bottle: energy 1129 kjoules = 266 kCal; protein, fat and fibre nil; carbohydrates 65.4 g of which sugars 33.1 g of which 65.4 g glucose-based; and sodium trace.[22] Packaging also warns that spilt Lucozade may stain. A 380 ml bottle of Lucozade contains 46 mg of caffeine,[23] about as much as a cup of tea.

Lucozade contains 0.01% ethanol (alcohol), which kept observant Muslims from being allowed to drink it (Islam bans alcohol) until, in 2004, the Muslim Council of Britain ruled that they saw no harm in consuming Lucozade which contains traces of ethyl alcohol that does not bear its original qualities and does not change the taste, colour or smell. GlaxoSmithKline pointed out that fruit juices and bread could also contain the same or higher trace amounts of alcohol due to natural fermentation.[24]


Lucozade Sport during the 2014 Women's Rugby World Cup

Lucozade Sport is a major sponsor of events, teams and athletes in the UK and Ireland, including the Amateur Rowing Association (ARA), FA Premier League, FA Cup, England Rugby Football Union, England Football Team, the Republic Of Ireland Football Team, the London Marathon, Parkrun, Michael Owen, Steven Gerrard, Damien Duff, Ronan O'Gara and Ben Wynne. From 2012, the McLaren Formula One team is also sponsored by Lucozade.[citation needed]


A Lucozade Zero booth marketing a tie-in with Missguided in 2017 in Birmingham

In 2017 British fashion supplier Missguided was included in a campaign by Lucozade Zero. Coded cans were offered at booths in crowded areas that entitled drinkers to discounts on Missguided products.[25]


  1. ^ "LUCOZADE-—Word mark. Wares: Non-alcoholic and carbonated beverages of all kinds and essences and syrups for making same. William Walker Hunter, trading as W. Owen & Son, 151, Barras Bridge, Newcastle-uponTyne, England. NS."[2]
  2. ^ "Dilly" (Poppadom Preach, 2011). "[Dr Johnson suspected that Egg had] picked up a bug of some sort. He said she needed plenty to drink, and suggested Lucozade. Suddenly I wished I was sick as well, because my friendship with Estie had given me a taste for Lucozade: the smell, the bright orange colour, the cellophane wrapping (which could later be used to make X-ray specs), the glugging as it left the bottle like a fizzy golden waterfall, the tiny bubbles jumping out of the glass and popping in the air."[6]
    James Willocks and Wallace Barr (2004): "a rush of friends and relations clutching the traditional bunch of flowers and bottle of Lucozade".[7]

    "Adrian Mole" (The Lost Diaries of Adrian Mole, 1999–2001, 2009): "Personally I think it was a great mistake to provide hospital patients with bedside telephones. They give their long-suffering relations no peace with their incessant, peevish demands for Lucozade and boxes of tissues."[8]


  1. ^ a b c d "We did it first". The Northern Echo. 27 March 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Canadian Trademarks Details 0173483". Canadian Trademarks Database. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  3. ^ a b Blythe, Jim (2013). Consumer Behaviour. SAGE. p. 404. ISBN 9781446290323.
  4. ^ Delingpole, James (6 May 2017). "Jamie Oliver’s Lucozade meddling has stolen my childhood", The Spectator.
  5. ^ a b Taylor, David (2007). Brand Vision: How to Energize Your Team to Drive Business Growth. John Wiley & Sons. p. 182. ISBN 9780470060940.
  6. ^ Khan, Almas (2011). Poppadom Preach. Simon and Schuster, 21.
  7. ^ Willocks, James; Barr, Wallace (2004). Ian Donald: A Memoir. RCOG. p. 55. ISBN 9781904752004.
  8. ^ Townsend, Sue (2009). The Lost Diaries of Adrian Mole, 1999-2001. Penguin UK, 70.
  9. ^ Donovan, Tristan (2013). Fizz: How Soda Shook Up the World. Chicago Review Press. p. 215. ISBN 9781613747254.
  10. ^ a b Denis Campbell (7 May 2016). "Liverpool in drive to name and shame fizzy drink brands". The Guardian.
  11. ^ Cave, Andrew (30 October 2017). "Lucozade Ribena Suntory boss: 'Our drinks can be fuel for healthier living'", The Daily Telegraph.
  12. ^ a b c Monaghan, Angela. "Ribena and Lucozade sold to Japanese drinks giant", The Guardian, 9 September 2013.
  13. ^ "Lucozade sign on M4 at GSK's HQ in Brentford removed in 2004". BBC News. 30 August 2004.
  14. ^ "Profile: SmithKline Beecham". BBC. 18 December 2000.
  15. ^ "The Glaxo SmithKline merger". BBC News. 17 January 2000.
  16. ^ Rupert Neate (24 April 2013). "Lucozade and Ribena up for sale". The Guardian..
  17. ^ a b Adams, Stephen (19 July 2012). "Sugar-laden sports drinks cancel out exercise gain". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  18. ^ Heneghan, C; Perera, R; Nunan, D; Mahtani, K; Gill, P (18 July 2012). "Forty years of sports performance research and little insight gained". BMJ (Clinical research ed.). 345: e4797. doi:10.1136/bmj.e4797. PMID 22810388.
  19. ^ "Hypoglycaemia (hypos)". Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College NHS Foundation Trust. 19 September 2016. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  20. ^ "How will decreased sugar in Lucozade affect people with diabetes?". Retrieved 10 September 2017.
  21. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  22. ^ Packaging of Lucozade Energy Original, 2013. Package printed with number 0502229/02
  23. ^
  24. ^ "Muslims get soft drinks go-ahead". BBC News. 2 August 2004.
  25. ^

External linksEdit