Gatorade is a flavored non-carbonated sports drink manufactured by the Quaker Oats Company, now a division of PepsiCo. Intended for consumption during physically active occasions, Gatorade is formulated to rehydrate and replenish fluid, carbohydrates and electrolytes.


Robert Cade, Dick Malonis, Harry James Free, and Dana Shires were the medical researchers at the University of Florida who created Gatorade in 1965. The Gators football coach, Ray Graves, was frustrated with the performance of his players during the hot summer football practices, and asked the team doctor, one of Cade’s associates, for his insight. Cade and his research team came across the unique mix of water, sodium, sugar, potassium, phosphate, and lemon juice that is now known as Gatorade in honor of the football team, the Gators. The football team credited Gatorade with their first Orange Bowl win over the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in 1967, and the drink became an instant phenomenon. The Yellow Jackets coach Bud Carson, when asked why they lost, replied: "We didn’t have Gatorade. That made the difference."

Shortly after, Cade partnered with Stokely-Van Camp, Inc. (S-VC) to produce and distribute the product. A year after its commercial introduction Gatorade was reformulated, as its initial recipe contained the sweetener cyclamate, which was banned by the FDA. The Quaker Oats Company bought S-VC in 1983, after a bidding war with rival Pillsbury. Quaker licensed manufacturing of Gatorade in some worldwide markets to PepsiCo, but sued Pepsi in Australia in 1998, alleging Pepsi had misappropriated Gatorade trade secrets to manufacture its own sports drink, All Sport. Quaker won the Australian case. In the meantime, the University of Florida has received royalties for Gatorade each year, since their settlement with Cade in 1973.

Gatorade is the official sports drink of the National Football League, Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, Women's National Basketball Association, USA Basketball, National Hockey League, Association of Volleyball Professionals, US Soccer Federation, Major League Soccer, and many other pro and collegiate organizations, providing supplies of the drinks to the teams in all flavors available. Gatorade extended their market to the U.K. in 2008 and promoted this in part by becoming the sports drink provider for Chelsea F.C..


The original Gatorade contained water, sucrose (table sugar) and glucose-fructose syrups, citric acid, Fish oil, sodium chloride (table salt), sodium citrate, monopotassium phosphate,and flavoring/coloring ingredients. Some Gatorade flavorings use brominated vegetable oil as a stabilizer. Gatorade Thirst Quencher meets the Food and Drug Administration’s definition of a "low sodium product." Gatorade is available in a variety of flavors, including the original Lemon-Lime, Grape, Orange, and Fruit punch, as well as, Gatorade AM, Rain, Frost, X-Factor, Xtremo, Tiger, and Fierce.

Gatorade revealed the Gatorade line Energy Bar in 1999. This energy bar was Gatorade's first foray into solid foods, and was introduced to compete with PowerBar and Clif Bar. Gatorade Energy Bars contain a large proportion of protein in addition to its carbohydrates. The bar is mainly made up of puffed grains and corn syrup, common components of energy bars.

In 2000, Gatorade introduced Propel Fit Water, a vitamin enhanced water that is artificially sweetened with sucralose and acesulfame potassium. Propel has the same electrolytes as Gatorade, along with some vitamins, which makes it similar to Vitamin Water, though Vitamin Water has substantial amounts of sugar. Propel Fitness Water with Calcium was introduced in 2006. Also, in 2006, Gatorade introduced its Rain flavor line, which features a lighter, crisp taste similar to its Propel line but which comes in the bottle size and shape as the original Gatorade. In late 2007, a lower-calorie line of Gatorade drinks, named G2, was released.

In 2001, Gatorade introduced the Gatorade Performance Series, a special line of sports nutrition products. These products include Gatorade Carbohydrate Energy Drink, Gatorade Protein Recovery Shake, the Gatorade Nutrition Shake and the Gatorade Nutrition Bar. The Endurance Formula, introduced in 2004, contains twice the sodium and three times the potassium than the typical Gatorade formula, as well as chloride, magnesium and calcium, to better replace what athletes lose while training and competing.

G2: Off the Field Hydration

G2: Off the Field Hydration, otherwise known as "Gatorade 2 (G2)," is a low calorie electrolyte beverage that was launched in late 2007 G2 is currently available in only five flavors: Orange, Fruit Punch, Lime, Strawberry Kiwi, and Grape. It is also labeled as a healthy choice beverage.

Gatorade Tiger

Gatorade Tiger is a Gatorade Thirst Quencher drink formulated for Tiger Woods in flavors he selected. Debuting in March 2008, Gatorade Tiger is available in Red Drive (cherry), Cool Fusion (lemon lime) and Quiet Storm (grape). Gatorade Tiger contains 25% more electrolytes than Gatorade Thirst Quencher.


In the late 1970s and early 1980s (as well as the late 90s to early 2000s), Gatorade sold a brand of chewing gum called Gatorgum. The product, manufactured by Fleer Corporation, was available in both of Gatorade's original flavors (lemon-lime and orange) and was rather sour-tasting by normal chewing gum standards.

In the late 1970s, Stokley-Van Camp (owner of Gatorade prior to 1983) negotiated a long-term licensing deal with Swell and Vicks to market "Gator Gum." The gum, which had no functionality or ingredients of Gatorade Thirst Quencher, was discontinued in 1989 after the contract expired. Mueller Sports in Wisconsin manufactures a gum called Quench. It is based on Gator Gum but is not the same as what Stokley-Van Camp created.

Gatorgum's foil packaging advertised that the product "Helps Quench Thirst." However like all chewing gums, the product would not actually rehydrate the body on its own. However, it did contain electrolytes to assist the human body with the rehydration process.

Popular culture

Gatorade has been the subject of much attention and reference in several pop culture situations.

  • Perhaps the most notable presence of Gatorade is the "Gatorade Shower" (originally called The Gatorade Dunk) at the end of an American football game, where players from a victorious team grab the Gatorade cooler, sneak up behind the head coach, and pour the contents over his head. This tradition began in the mid-1980s when Harry Carson and Jim Burt of the New York Giants doused head coach Bill Parcells during the 1985 season. Burt's teammates picked up on this practice and popularized it during the team's championship season of 1986-87. The tradition gained widespread popularity, and now coaches at all levels get the shower.
  • On the album, That's the Way It Is (3 disc box-set), Elvis Presley can be distinctly heard asking for Gatorade while performing in concert at the International Hotel in Las Vegas.
  • Gatorade's 1991 "Be Like Mike" ads featured Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls, a North American basketball team (who had just won their first NBA championship). The ads began airing in August of 1991 and soon the phrase 'Be Like Mike' became a household phrase all over America. Bernie Pitzel, Creative Director of Bayer Bess Vanderwarker, Gatorade's Agency of record at the time, wrote the lyrics. Composers Steve Shafer and Ira Antellis wrote the music.
  • The Connecticut legislature passed a law in 2006 that banned soda from being sold in public schools. Despite Gatorade's image as a health-conscious beverage, the drink was also banned.
  • In the 1998 movie The Waterboy, the team's head football coach taunts the waterboy (actor Adam Sandler) in a daydream saying "Gatorade not only quenches your thirst better, it tastes better too.


Gatorade's main competition is POWERade, made by the Coca-Cola Company. CeraSport made by Cera Products Inc. is a non-glucose, rice-based oral rehydration and performance drink. All Sport is a competitor marketed by The Monarch Beverage Company, of Atlanta, Georgia. All Sport was marketed by PepsiCo until 2001, when Gatorade's maker, the Quaker Oats Company was acquired by PepsiCo. All Sport was sold off to the Monarch Beverage Company soon after.

Outside the United States the Lucozade energy drink (manufactured since 1927 by the pharmaceutical company now known as GlaxoSmithKline) competes with Gatorade and Powerade. Lucozade's formulation differs in that it uses primarily glucose and contains caffeine. The more direct competitor to Gatorade and Powerade is Lucozade Sport, however whilst Powerade and Lucozade are widely available in the United Kingdom, Gatorade did not have full distribution in the UK until PepsiCo's UK beverage distributor, Britvic, began selling it across the country in 2008.

Common substitutes

A number of "electrolyte replacement drinks" have been introduced in both commercial and non-commercial contexts. Two of the more popular ones are:

  • Water, vinegar (usually a strongly flavored vinegar such as apple cider), molasses (sometimes blackstrap), and sometimes other flavorings such as honey and/or ginger (usually powdered). This is called switchel.
  • Water, Kool-Aid mix, various salts, and sometimes other minerals such as sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). This makes a more "Gatorade-like" drink than switchel.

See also: Oral rehydration therapy

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