Gatorade is a brand best known for their popular line of sports drinks. They also produce nutrition bars and protein drinks, but the first ever Gatorade product was designed to be a drink to improve rehydration. Let’s take a brief look at the history of Gatorade and find out who invented this popular sports drink.
Who invented Gatorade?
Gatorade was invented by a team of researchers at the University of Florida due to a request from Dewayne Douglas, who was an assistant coach of the Florida Gators football team. He wanted a way to quickly replace the lost body fluids and avoid the players suffering dehydration from practicing and playing during hot weather. The research team was led by Robert Cade and they soon learned that the players were losing up to 8.2 kg (18 lbs) during a game of football, which was mostly water.
The research team included Robert Cade, Dana Shires, Harry James Free, and Alejandro de Quesada. This research team began trialling different electrolyte replacement formulas containing water, sugar, salt, potassium and phosphate. Initially 10 players tested the formula during football practice and it was deemed a success. Flavors and artificial sweeteners were added to the drink to make it more palatable. The drink, originally known as “Cade’s Ade” and “Cade’s Cola”, was tested during a game in 1965 when the temperature reached 39 °C (102 °F) with positive results. It wasn’t until the Gators won the Orange Bowl in 1967 that the drink began to be recognized as a competitive advantage. The losing coach is known for famously telling reporters “We didn’t have Gatorade; that made the difference.”
Robert Cade patented the formula and setup his own business to produce the drink, after initially being turned down by the University. The company has undergone many acquisitions over the years and today Gatorade is currently owned by PepsiCo after they purchased the parent company of Gatorade in 2001.