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TokyoTreat Japanese Snacks BlogPocky: Tracing The History of The Japanese Sweet Icon

Pocky: Tracing The History of The Japanese Sweet Icon

Thuy FangThuy Fang
Published Time
Posted on 
June 30, 2023
A box of matcha Pocky.

Pocky is a beloved Japanese snack with thin biscuit sticks covered in chocolate or other flavors. With its unique design and irresistible taste, it has achieved worldwide renown. It offers a convenient and savory treat that pleases people of all ages at any moment! Get ready to satisfy your curiosity as we uncover the captivating story of its origin and evolution.

The Origin of Pocky

Pocky has gained recognition as one of the iconic products of Ezaki Glico, one of Japan’s largest confectionery conglomerates. Glico introduced a unique caramel candy packaged in a red box 1922, which later inspired Pocky – the globally popular chocolate-covered biscuit sticks. 

A bunch of chocolate covered biscuit sticks.
Chocolate is a classic flavor for this snack. Image via Shutterstock

In 1966, Pocky was officially born. You would be surprised by its original design, which consisted of a stick fully covered in chocolate cream. However, they quickly replaced this design with pre-coated biscuit sticks in three sets.

This new design has helped consumers avoid getting their hands sticky from the chocolate coating on the biscuit. Thanks to its convenience and uniqueness, this new design has persisted and become synonymous with its fame today.

A box of strawberry Pocky.
Pocky comes in a sweet strawberry flavor as well! Image via Shutterstock

Although its initial target audience was women, this sweet gained global recognition and became a massive success for Glico Corporation. Furthermore, it is interesting that “Pocky” originated from the Japanese onomatopoeia “poki.” This is the snapping sound the snack makes when people eat it!

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Why are there so many flavors?

The very first flavor of Pocky was undoubtedly chocolate, and it quickly gained popularity. Yet, in response to many requests for more flavors, Pocky Almond debuted in 1971. This new flavor did delight many fans with its crunchy almond topping, offering a fantastic twist to the original flavor.

In 1976, the brand expanded the range of this product further by releasing Pocky Strawberry. With a different size and price, this strawberry flavor quickly captured the hearts of curious consumers and provided them with a fruity and refreshing alternative.

During the 1990s, Pocky returned with more tasty varieties. Typically, Chunky Strawberry with freeze-dried strawberry toppings and Marble, with an eye-catching marble design, were among the attractive options that captivated many sweet buffs worldwide.

A plate of cookies and cream Pocky.
Cookies and cream can’t be beaten! Image via Shutterstock

Over time, the snack traveled globally to reach America, Europe, China, and Southeast Asia. Today, it offers over 50 mouthwatering flavors, including limited editions and regional favorites like Brazilian Orange, White Chocolate, Royal Milk Tea, Matcha, and Kobe Wine. This diversity has ensured something for everyone’s palate for a long time.

Why is Pocky so successful?

The snack has become a beloved treat in major grocery stores, big supermarkets like Costco and Walmart, and even vending machines. Its significant success is evident as billions of boxes have sold globally since its humble beginnings in the mid-1960s.

A banana berry yogurt Pocky dessert.
Pocky also goes great with dessert! Image via Shutterstock

In Japan, Pocky has become so popular that the 11th of November holds a special meaning because it is celebrated as Pokki no Hi (Pocky Day). The consecutive number 1 in the date resembles the shape of the iconic sticks. Thus, this clever play on numbers has already caught people’s imagination and created a unique occasion to indulge in the deliciousness of Pocky while appreciating its distinctive shape.

In addition to its role as a convenient snack to enjoy anywhere, Pocky can also be a decorative element on ice cream sundaes, pancakes, and other desserts. Moreover, many restaurants and cafes creatively turn these sticks into a stirring tools for beverages. We can also quickly see images of Pocky sticks or boxes appearing on graphic designs and prints on fashionable t-shirts.

An assorted bunch of green tea, strawberry and chocolate covered biscuit sticks.
What’s your favorite flavor? Image via Shutterstock

In short, Pocky has undergone a remarkable evolution from its humble beginnings to achieve worldwide fame. With its extensive range of flavors and global recognition, people worldwide will continue to enjoy this iconic snack! Also, we’re curious to know which flavors you have tried and your thoughts. Please leave a brief comment below this post!

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