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. In some locales the standard 25 gram paper-foil packs are replaced by collectible tins, which can sometimes be redeemed from the manufacturer in exchange for a certain number of the paper-foil packs as part of promotional events.
The sugar free versions of the lozenges contain sorbitol, aspartame, menthol, vegetable-sourced sucralose, and acesulfame K. Often they have anti-caking agents added such as magnesium stearate. Each different flavour will have unique ingredients. For example, the blackcurrant flavour variant includes elderberry juice extract.
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 (called Eucalyptus in Germany) – White pack†
- Aniseed – Gold pack
- Mint – Green pack
- Original Extra Strong (called Eucalyptus in Germany) – White and blue pack
- Lemon – White and yellow pack
- Blackcurrant – White and purple pack
- Mint – White and light green pack†
- Apple – White, green and orange pack (only in Indonesia)
- Apple and Cinnamon – White and mid-green pack
- Salmiak – White and black pack
- Cherry – White and dark red pack†
- Mandarin and Ginger/Grapefruit – White and dark orange pack
- Sweet Liquorice – White and brown pack
- Tropical – White and orange pack
- Spearmint – White and teal pack
- Citrus – White and lime green pack
- Honey and Lemon – White and beige pack
- Fishermans Friend Pro Fresh
- Sweet Vanilla
- Lemon And Lime
†Flavours available in the United States (In the United States, Fisherman's Friend is marketed more as a medicinal lozenge than as a candy.)
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.
Note: the listed sites have different flavours available for specific countries only
- Official website (for the UK) Currently has 7 flavours available
- Official website (for the US) Currently has 3 flavours available
- Official website (for the Netherlands) Currently has 7 flavours available
- Official website (for Norway) Currently has 10 flavours available
- Official website (for France) Currently has 6 flavours available
- Official website (for Germany) Currently has 14 flavours available
- Official website (for Italy) Currently has 6 flavours available
- Official website (for Spain) Currently has 4 flavours available
- Official website (for Australia) Currently has 6 flavours available
- Official website (for Canada) Currently has 8 flavours available