Gatorade is a non-carbonated sports drink marketed by Quaker Oats Company, a division of PepsiCo. Originally made for athletes, it is now often consumed by non-athletes as a snack beverage. The drink is intended to rehydrate and to replenish the carbohydrates (in the form of sugars sucrose and glucose) and electrolytes (sodium and potassium salts) depleted during aerobic exercise, especially in warmer climates.
Gatorade was created by Dr. Robert Cade, Dr. Alex DeQuesada, Dr. Dana Shires and Dr. Jim Free at the University of Florida in 1965 for the school’s football team and given the university’s athletic nickname, the Gators. Dr. Cade entered into an agreement with the Indianapolis-based fruit and vegetable canning company Stokely-Van Camp, Inc. (S-VC) to produce the product, which he had already patented. In 1973 Cade and S-VC settled a lawsuit with the University of Florida, which had claimed the University owned the rights for the drink’s formula. Since that time the University has received more than US$80 million in Gatorade royalties.
The Gators football team used Gatorade officially in 1967 and went on to win their first Orange Bowl title. They beat Georgia Tech, whose coach, when asked why they lost, replied: “We didn’t have Gatorade. That made the difference.” Gatorade was used officially in 1969 by the Kansas City Chiefs, who attributed their Super Bowl title of that year to the University of Florida sports drink.
Marketed with dramatically perspiring athletic imagery, the drink became popular with non-athletes, and dietetic and low-sodium versions were added to the Gatorade product lineup.
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 August 2001, Pepsico acquired Quaker (after another bidding war, this time with arch rival Coca-Cola). Both bidders valued Quaker largely because of the Gatorade brand.
In 1998, Gatorade switched from using glass bottles to using plastic bottles in the United States. Glass bottles are still used in some markets.
Along with Johnson & Johnson, Gatorade is one of the founding sponsors of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association. It is also the official sports drink of the National Football League, Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, Women’s National Basketball Association, NBA Development League, National Hockey League, US Soccer Federation, Major League Soccer, and many other pro and college organizations, providing supplies of the drinks to the teams in all flavors available.