Lucozade is a soft drink manufactured and marketed by the Japanese company Suntory. Created as "Glucozade" in the UK in 1927 by a Newcastle pharmacist, William Walker Hunter (trading as W. Owen & Son),[a] it was acquired by the British pharmaceutical company Beecham's in 1938 and sold as Lucozade, an energy drink for the sick. The company's advertising slogan was "Lucozade aids recovery". It was sold mostly in pharmacies up until the mid 1990s before it was more readily available as a sports drink in shops across the UK.
|Manufacturer||Lucozade Ribena Suntory Limited (Suntory)|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
A glucose and water solution, the product was sold until 1983 as a carbonated, slightly orange-flavoured drink in a glass bottle wrapped in yellow cellophane. Pharmacists sold it, children were given it when ill, and hospital visitors would regularly arrive with a bottle.[b] It was rebranded in 1978 as a "pick me up", 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. As of 2016[update], a 500 ml bottle contained 62 g (15.5 cubes) of sugar, more than Coca-Cola. In 2017, to avoid sugar tax, the drink was reformulated to contain 22.5 g of sugar per 500 ml of liquid, as well as the artificial sweeteners aspartame and acesulfame K.
In 1989, the Beecham Group merged to form SmithKline Beecham, which further merged in 2000 to form GlaxoSmithKline. In September 2013, GlaxoSmithKline sold Lucozade and another soft drink, Ribena, to the Japanese drinks conglomerate Suntory for £1.35 billion.
"Glucozade" was invented by William Walker Hunter in 1927 in Newcastle; Hunter had taken over the business of pharmacist William Owen. Hunter sold the product to the Beecham Group in 1938 and it was eventually renamed Lucozade.
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 it was re-branded as an energy drink to remove the brand's associations with 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 re-branding, UK sales tripled to almost £75 million between 1984 and 1989.
In 1989, the Beecham Group and SmithKline Beckman merged to form SmithKline Beecham, and in 2000 SmithKline Beecham and GlaxoWellcome merged to form GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). In 2013, GSK put Ribena and Lucozade up for sale. Suntory, a Japanese holding company, bought the brands in September for £1.35 billion. 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.
The following flavours are currently available in the UK:
- Lucozade Original
- Lucozade Orange
- Lucozade Pink Lemonade (2013-present)
- Lucozade Caribbean Crush (2013-present)
- Lucozade The Brazilian (2014-present)
- Lucozade Wild Cherry (2014-present)
- Lucozade Apple Blast (2018-present)
- Lucozade Pineapple Punch (2018-present)
- Lucozade Watermelon & Strawberry Cooler (2019-present)
- Lucozade Citrus Chill (2020-present)
- Lucozade Raspberry Ripple (2021-present)
The following flavours are currently sold as Zero Energy products:
- Lucozade Original Zero
- Lucozade Orange Zero (2016-present)
- Lucozade Pink Lemonade Zero (2016-present)
The following flavours are currently sold as Lucozade Sport products:
- Lucozade Sport Fit Water (2017-present)
- Lucozade Sport Raspberry
- Lucozade Sport Orange
- Lucozade Sport Orange (Low Cal)
- Lucozade Sport Cherry Kick
- Lucozade Sport Apple vs Raspberry
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 Tropical
- 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 effectiveness
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". This was backed up by a research study done on professional cyclists, to see if ingesting Lucozade before an hour bike ride would impact performance. The study could not find any positive impact on performance after ingesting it.  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".
Lucozade comes in the form of liquid in either a can or plastic bottle or it come in the form of a tablet. The tablets have the flavours of either orange or the original flavour. 
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".
In May 2016, Liverpool City Council ran a "name-and-shame campaign" entitled “Is your child’s sweet tooth harming their health?”. The short-lived campaign 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 hospitals for a time.
In its original high-sugar formulation, Lucozade was recommended by UK diabetes charities as an immediate treatment for hypoglycaemia in individuals who take insulin. Since the drink now includes artificial sweeteners, guidelines have been amended to state that Lucozade should not be used to treat diabetic hypoglycaemia.
While the ingredients vary somewhat from one drink to another, those 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. Packaging also warns that spilt Lucozade may stain. A 380 ml bottle of Lucozade contains 46 mg of caffeine, about as much as a cup of tea.
Lucozade contains 0.01% ethanol (alcohol), which meant that observant Muslims could not drink it. However, in 2004, the Muslim Council of Britain ruled that they saw no harm in consuming Lucozade which contains traces of ethyl alcohol that do not bear its original qualities and do 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.
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. Since 2012, the McLaren Formula One team has been sponsored by Lucozade.
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.
- "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."
- "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."
James Willocks and Wallace Barr (2004): "a rush of friends and relations clutching the traditional bunch of flowers and bottle of Lucozade".
"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."
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- Packaging of Lucozade Energy Original, 2013. Package printed with number 0502229/02
- "Muslims get soft drinks go-ahead". BBC News. 2 August 2004.
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