Who Invented the Smoothie? (Invention Timeline Explained)

Smoothies are like elixirs – delicious, healthy, and addicting. For some, smoothies work magic in improving their health and transforming their bodies. Smoothies are also very easy to make. You can start by choosing any frozen fruit you like. Common fruit bases are bananas, apples, peaches, strawberries, mangoes, and blueberries. You can also add a handful of green veggies like kale or spinach if you are aiming for a healthier drink. Then, blend it with the liquid of your choice – you can use coconut milk, non-fat milk, coffee, tea, or water. You can add ice if you like. As simple as that, you now have a refreshing drink that kids and adults can enjoy. So, smoothies can be your to-go drink for parties, picnics, or snacks.

The recipes for smoothies have improved a lot over the years. Nowadays, you can enjoy and explore over a hundred healthy and yummy recipes online. A lot of research also supports the health benefits of drinking smoothies. This article will look back at the origin of smoothies and how they progressed through the years.

Who invented the smoothie?

The concept of fruit purees similar to smoothies goes back to cultures and civilizations hundreds of years ago. However, the American smoothie was invented by Julius Freed in 1920.

The smoothie’s key contributors (and evolution)

  • Ancient People
    Fruit Purees

    Ancient people from around the world enjoyed their versions of smoothies. They used whatever fruits were abundant in their places to make refreshing fruit purees. Some purees were believed to have healing and regenerating powers.

  • Fred Wolf and Stephen Poplawski
    Refrigerator and Blender

    The invention of the refrigerator in 1913 and the blender in 1922 made it easier for people to make smoothies. In the early 1930s, smoothies started gaining popularity. People were making their recipes, using different fruits and dairy products to make their smoothies more delicious.

  • Jack Lalanne
    Body Builder and Nutrition Advocate

    A bodybuilder named Jack Lalanne explained and promoted the benefits of healthy eating and juicing. He influenced many people to try fruit purees through his TV show and fitness club.

  • Hippies
    Who baptized smoothie?

    The hippies first used the name ” smoothie ” in the 60s. They were advocates of peace, love, freedom, and healthy living. So, it is not surprising that they were big fans of fruit purees.

  • Julius Freed
    Orange Julius

    Julius Freed was a young man with a very sensitive stomach. He was looking for an alternative way to enjoy fresh orange juice since he couldn’t handle its high acidity. So he experimented and added new ingredients to make it less acidic. He succeeded and created the first recorded version of an orange smoothie. His friends loved the drink so much that Julius gained the nickname “Orange Julius.”

  • Steven Kuhnau
    Smoothie King

    Steven Kuhnau couldn’t enjoy a regular milkshake because he was lactose intolerant. Steve became passionate about creating a drink similar to a milkshake that he could drink. He blended frozen fruits, ice, and fruit juice and made a smoothie. He was surprised to discover that the smoothie was not just delicious but also a big help in controlling his sugar level and allergies. So, he opened his store, the Smoothie King, where he served vitamins and healthy drinks.

When was the smoothie invented?

Although fruit slushes already existed hundreds of years ago, the first American smoothie was invented by Julis Freed in 1920.

A brief history of smoothies: 

You might have heard of the term “domino effect.” It means that a single event can trigger a lot of succeeding events. This is what happened with the invention of smoothies. Its invention was the effect of different events, circumstances, and other inventions.

People have enjoyed nutritious and delicious pureed fruit drinks for hundreds of years. Back then, people used whatever abundant fruits they had. They believed that these fruit purees have healing and regenerating abilities. So, they make pureed fruit drinks for their workers and warriors. Their pureed fruit drinks are very similar to the smoothies we enjoy nowadays.

The domino effect started with the invention of the refrigerator in 1913 and the creation of the blender in 1922. Both of these inventions made it easier for people to store frozen fruits and make ice, the main ingredients for a tasty smoothie. So, in the early 1930s, people became crazy about smoothies. They will make their recipes, use different fruits, and add various flavorings. As a result, smoothie (although it was not yet called smoothie during this time) became a global trend.

In the 1920s, a young boy named Julius Freed made the first local version of the American smoothie. His sensitive stomach caused him pain whenever he drank fresh orange juice. So, he devised a recipe to make the orange juice less acidic. He succeeded and shared his “orange smoothie” with his friends. His friends also enjoyed it and will always ask Julius to make some more.

In 1936, a bodybuilder and health advocate, Jack Lalanne, promoted the benefits of juicing and healthy eating. He has a TV show which influenced more people to try fruit purees and their positive effects on health, weight, and nutrition. He also opened the first health-food store next to his fitness center. He devoted his life to making weight loss juices and meals. His recipes are still among the most popular smoothie recipes until now.

In the 1960s, the Hippies first used the term smoothie, pertaining to the fruit purees everyone loved and enjoyed. This is not surprising since hippies were very health conscious and loved and promoted healthy living. Because of this, many people called fruit juices “smoothies.” However, back then, the term smoothie means a lot of things. Some used it to describe a ballpoint pen, a girdle, a machine, or car paint. It was only in the 1970s that the term “smoothie” was branded and stuck.

It was Steve Kuhnau’s idea to call his health drink “smoothie” to appeal to the health-conscious market. Steve was lactose intolerant and came up with his version of a milkshake. Instead of milk and dairy products, he blended frozen fruits, juice, and ice to make a drink that he could enjoy. His experiment was a success. Not only did he make a yummy drink, but it also helped control his sugar level and allergies.

Steve was thrilled about his discovery, and he wanted to help other people as well. So, he opened his store, selling vitamins and fruit-based drinks. He branded his shop as “Smoothie King.” Smoothie King was a hit and now has over 600 stores nationwide.

The smoothie timeline

  1. 1913 and 1922
    The Start of the Domino

    The invention of the blender (1922) and the refrigerator (1913) started the fruit puree craze. They made preparing purees easier for everyone.

  2. 1920’s
    Thanks to a Sensitive Stomach

    Julius Freed’s sensitive stomach led to the discovery of the first orange smoothie. He added water and other ingredients to the orange puree to make it less acidic.

  3. 1936
    Early Influencers

    Jack Lalanne discussed the benefits of drinking fruit juices on national TV. His influence encouraged other people to include fruit purees in their daily diets.

  4. 1960’s
    Hippies Said it First

    The term “smoothie” was first used by the Hippies in the 1960s to describe the healthy fruit drink people love.

  5. 1970’s
    Official Smoothie

    The term “smoothie” was branded in 1970 when Steve Kuhnau opened the first Smooth King store.

Where was the first smoothie invented?

The first version of the orange smoothie was invented by Julius Freed in Los Angeles, California, in 1926.

The importance of the smoothie

  • Weight loss

    Fruits and vegetables are incredibly rich in fiber. The veggies and fruits that we use in making smoothies are a big help in weight loss.

  • Feel the fullness

    You might be tempted to eat if you are trying to lose weight. It’s challenging to focus on your tasks with a growling stomach. So, instead of eating chocolate bars or chips, you can try smoothies. Smoothies can make you feel full for an extended period of time. 

  • Strengthens Immunity

    We define human immunity as the ability to resist and fight pathogens and diseases. Smoothies can help your body acquire beta-carotene that boosts the immune system. 

  • Stay dehydrated 

    If you are not a fan of drinking water, smoothies can help you stay hydrated during hot seasons.

The smoothie by the numbers

  • 3Adding coconut to your smoothie can make it rich in omega-3. Omega-3 helps you fight anxiety and depression
  • 25 If you want to make an easy meal, try making a smoothie with 25 grams of protein. It can fuel your body’s energy. 
  • Honey is a natural and healthy sweetener. You can add 2 tablespoons of honey to your smoothie to make it a bit sweeter but still nutritious 
  • 10.1If you want to start a good business, try to have a smoothie business. It will not require a lot of money to start, and, according to the smoothie industry, it will grow around 10.1% over the next five years.

Five facts about the smoothie

  • Glowing skin

    Some fruits are rich in carotenoids like mangoes. Try using these fruits in your next smoothies and be rewarded with glowing skin.

  • Brain booster 

    Fruits and vegetables can help improve your brain functions. Frequent intake of healthy smoothies can improve awareness and concentration.

  • Fights Depression

    One way to fight depression is to eat fresh and healthy meals with folic acid. Smoothies are the easiest way to achieve a healthy diet.

  • Balance the sugar level

    Diabetes is a common disease for people who love sweets. Smoothies can help you enjoy sweetness without compromising health because fruits have natural sugar. 

  • Better than juice

    Smoothies are always better than juice in terms of nutrients and health benefits because most juices on the market are instant, powdered, filled with sweeteners, and artificial.

FAQ about smoothies

  • How to make smoothies?

    A smoothie’s main recipe is frozen fruit; you can try strawberries, mangoes, blueberries, pineapples, peaches, bananas, and peaches. Add the liquid of your choice (can be coconut milk, tea, coffee, or simply water). You can also add yogurt or honey and simply blend everything up. 

  • Is smoothie healthy?

    Smoothies are nutritious drinks because of their ingredients. A serving of smoothie is loaded with fiber that can improve your bowel movement.  

  • Are smoothies OK for weight loss?

    If you’re not a fan of fruits and veggies but want to lose weight, try to have smoothies because they serve the same benefits in a more delicious way. It’s an easy way to add more fruits and veggies to your diet.

  • What should you not mix in a smoothie?

    Since smoothie’s main ingredients are fruits and vegetables that are already rich in nutrients, fiber, and natural sugar, there is no need to mix milk and sugar, which can help you gain weight.

  • What makes smoothies unhealthy?

    General, smoothies are healthy. However, adding too much sugar or artificial sweetener can make smoothies unhealthy. 

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