Fisherman's Friend was originally developed by pharmacist James Lofthouse in 1865 to relieve various respiratory problems suffered by fishermen working in the extreme conditions of the Northern deep-sea fishing grounds. Though he developed it as an extremely strong liquid remedy containing menthol and eucalyptus oil, Lofthouse later made the liquid into small lozenges which were easier to transport and administer. According to the manufacturer, the fishermen began to refer to the lozenges as "friends", hence the name. British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher is said to have used the product when her throat became strained from public speaking.
The lozenges are relatively unchanged since their creation. The original paper packets later became foil-lined and packaged in a cardboard carton.
Original Extra Strong lozenges contain sugar, liquorice extract, menthol, Eucalyptus Oil, tragacanth, and capsicum tincture. The Sugar Free versions of the lozenges contain Sorbitol, Menthol, vegetable sourced Sucralose and Acesulfame K.
Fisherman's Friends are now available in over a hundred countries, in a variety of flavours, some of which are only available in certain countries. Lofthouse provides a mail order service allowing UK residents to obtain some of the more exotic or difficult to find flavours. Some flavours are sugar-free, for which the bags are striped:
- Original Extra Strong
- Super Strong Mint
- Original Extra Strong (With No Added Sugar)
- Apple and Cinnamon
- Salmiak (Selected European Markets)
- Spicy Mandarin (Selected Asian Markets)
- Sweet Liquorice
Lofthouse of Fleetwood Ltd. have won the Queen's Award to Industry for Export Achievement on three occasions.
- Hardman, Robert (19 May 2009). "Lozenge that conquered the world: Fisherman's Friend have netted a packet for one very modest British family". Daily Mail. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
- Grandflame. "Grocery News from the Grocery Trader Magazine including all Grocer news today". Grocerytrader.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-04-03.
- Official website (requires Flash)