Pocky: Japan's Most Famous Chocolate Snack

Pocky: Japan's Most Famous Chocolate Snack

Feb 04, 2022 Tags 

It may be a bit too early to celebrate Pocky Day, which falls on the 11th of November every year– but it’s never too late to learn about one of Japan’s favorite snacks. 

In our last article, we detailed everything you needed to know about the company that makes Pocky, Glico. However, the popularity of this one particular snack required its own article to answer all your questions about the iconic cream-covered sticks. Without further ado, here’s everything you need to know about Pocky:




When was Pocky made?


Pocky was made in 1966, a few years after the creation of its savory counterpart from Glico, called Pretz. The idea was to create a stick-shaped chocolate, which was initially made by hand-dipping the bare pocky biscuits in melted chocolate. Later on, as the manufacturing process involved machinery instead, the design stuck– since now you have a convenient place to hold the stick while you eat the chocolate part. There were talks about adding a removable foil to the end to make the whole stick chocolate, but the simplest design turned out to be the best solution, creating the iconic Pocky stick that we see today.

The word “Pocky,” comes from Japanese onomatopoeia, which are sound-alike words to describe feelings, noises, or experiences. The satisfying crack of a biscuit is referred to as “pokkin,” ポッキン . 


How Many Flavors of Pocky Are There?



There are 5 mainstay flavors of Pocky: chocolate, strawberry, chocolate banana, cookies and cream, and matcha. However, there are, including limited edition flavors, seasonal favorites, and international specials, more than 50 flavors of Pocky worldwide. 

For example, Mango Pocky is produced for sale in Thailand. In the summer of 2021 Pocky released a Coconut version which puts coconut flakes on top of the chocolate coated biscuit. You can also get Chocomint and Fukami Matcha if you would like more unique flavors. 

Though it’s difficult to find a complete list of all 50 flavors, Glico comes up with new flavors every year. You might even get a chance to try one of these in a ZenPop Sweets Pack!



Why Is Pocky so Popular in Japan?




Officially, there is no specific reason that brought Pocky to fame. However, its notoriety can be explained simply by how good it is. It's a very simple chocolate covered biscuit stick. It's convenient, it's light, it's easy to carry in your bag and bring everywhere you go, all the while not getting your hands dirty while eating it. One more reason why it's such a loved snack, is that there are a lot of flavors to experience, all year round! Today, it's so popular that it even has its own day, the Pocky Day. 


What Is Pocky Day?


Pocky day


On November 11th of 1999, Glico began declaring 11.11 as “Pocky Day,” advertising it with special packaging, events, and even some viral marketing. The special day eventually got so popular that it was recognized as a certified Memorial Day by the Japan Anniversary Association (Nihon Kinenbi Kyoukai). 

The company chose 11.11 due to the number one looking stick-shaped, much like the iconic chocolate snack. 1999 was also an auspicious date for Pocky, as it happened to be the 11th year of the Heisei Era. 

There are many different ways of celebrating Pocky on Pocky Day, including eating it by yourself and sharing it with a friend. (Some people might go so far as to play the Pocky Game on this specific day.) The Glico company often likes to make a show of Pocky Day by attempting to break Guinness World Records during the celebration. 

In 2012 and 2013 they set the world record for most mentions of a brand name on Twitter within 24 hours– with a total of 3710044 total mentions of the word “Pocky,” on November 11. On Pocky day in 2013 they launched Pocky and Pretz shaped rockets (forming the date 11.11) into the sky! There were in fact cameras attached to the Pocky sticks, and you could view the livestream of the rocket launch as well as experience being on the Pocky rocket. 



In 2014, they invited people from all over the world to send in photos of themselves with Pocky, setting a world record for the Largest Online Photo Montage of Cookies/Biscuits. Here’s an example of the photo montage they did in 2015: 



In 2020, they coordinated 143 people on a Zoom call to get the Guinness World Record for the most people opening packaged food online. 

You can also go to pop up marketing stands like what they did at Tsutenkaku Tower in Osaka in 2016, where you could play games or take Pocky samples. 



What Is the Pocky Game?




Another popular trend featuring the iconic snack is the Pocky Game! This is a Lady and the Tramp style game where two people take the opposite sides of the stick, and slowly bite towards the middle. The one who folds first out of fear of kissing the other is the loser, and the one who is left is the winner. 

You often see this depicted in Japanese anime or J-dramas, especially with slice of life or romance shows depicting high schoolers. 

If you would like to learn more about Pocky Game, take a look of this Pocky Game guide.

There’s lots of other things people do with Pocky, including making Pocky Towers or making DecoPocky, which are kits that Glico sells where you can decorate the Pocky sticks and turn them into cute keychains or decorative figures. 



What do you like to do with your Pocky? If you want to try out different kinds of Pocky (maybe one of those secret flavors or limited editions) you might encounter some in a future ZenPop Sweets Pack! Each sweets pack is filled with different kinds of snacks from all over Japan, corresponding to a special theme every month.