Pocky is a Japanese snack food produced by Ezaki Glico and invented by Yoshiaki Komaand. The first of these delicious chocolate coated biscuit pretzel sticks were first sold in 1966. The first flavor was chocolate, then almond came in 1971 and then strawberry showed up in 1977. Nowadays you can find an abundance of different flavors in these famous biscuit sticks. They are tasty and fun to eat! Let’s take a look at some interesting things about Pocky!
10. Pocky Was Named After the Sound They Make
The name “Pocky” comes from the sound its creators said it makes when you eat it: “Pokkin.” The Japanese word, “pokkin,” is also known as the onomatopoeia for the sound of a stick snapping or breaking in half. But when they first came out they were called Chocoteck and later they changed the name to resemble the sound when bitten into or when they snap-in half. The idea of these biscuit sticks originally was inspired by fried pork skewers. The idea is to keep part of the biscuit un-dipped from the chocolate flavoring so you can keep fingers clean, exactly how they ate Kushi katsu, a popular Japanese skewered fried pork. These biscuit sticks are dipped in various flavors of chocolate from banana to matcha green tea. They also have themed products such as “DecoPocky,” where the chocolate coating has colorful decorative stripes and you can design your own Pocky. The DIY (do it yourself) Pocky designs can be simple or complex and there are many options to choose from. Social media users love to post their DecoPocky creations online. They also have “Men’s Pocky,” where they use dark chocolate for the coating and it’s viewed as the “mature” version of Pocky.
9. The Pocky Game
Pocky was an instant hit with teenagers and many young adults. They helped to spread the word about these delicious biscuit sticks and then a Pocky Game was introduced. Do you remember the popular teenage party game called spin the bottle? Where each person spins the bottle and have to kiss whoever it lands on? Well, nowadays there’s a new kissing game going around. This one uses pocky sticks and resembles how the dogs in Lady and Tramp share a spaghetti noodle. To play you just replace the spaghetti with a Pocky stick and you have the “Pocky party game”. There can be a winner and a loser where the “loser” is whoever lets the stick break first or the person who doesn’t want to get kissed. There can also be two winners if both people want it to lead to a smooch! Wikipedia provides step by step instructions on how to play the game, “pair up with someone you wouldn’t mind kissing, and sit so your faces are 1 foot apart. Then, you should each bite one end of a pocky stick and start eating your way to the middle without dropping the stick. The first person to pull away loses otherwise it leads to a kiss!” The Pocky game is meant to be a fun and perhaps sensual party game. Surely, if you suggest this game you’ll either be met with enthusiasm or curiosity. There was also the one bite “100 Pocky” challenge where the goal was to fit as many pocky sticks in your mouth before you bite them down and swallow. Sounds like delicious fun but they advise not to try this at home as the pretzel sticks can start to soften and slip down to the back of your throat. Who could fit 100 Pocky sticks in their mouth?!
8. Shocking Melamine Contamination
Well, we’re sharing a lot of the fun and good things you might not know about Pocky but here’s a bit of a scandal you probably don’t know about. On September 30, 2008, Hong Kong authorities announced that melamine had been detected in one of Pocky’s flavors. What is melamine? Melamine is a chemical compound that has a number of industrial uses, including the production of laminates, glues, dinnerware, adhesives, and more. According to reputable sources, it is sometimes illegally added to some food products in order to increase the apparent protein content in them. This can be dangerous as it can lead to health risks. Not to worry, this was a one-off in their men’s line. The flavor they found this chemical compound in was the coffee cream-coated biscuit sticks made in China. Pocky’s parent company, Ezaki Glico, did not make any immediate comments on the reported contamination at the time, but it was reported that the melamine contamination level was found to be 43 ppm! Why is this shocking? Because the legal limit is 2.5 ppm. On October 17, 2008, Sri Lanka took action and banned the coffee cream-coated biscuit sticks.
7. There Are Over 50 Different Pocky flavors
Pocky has all the standard flavors, of course, like strawberry and chocolate but they also have a variety of unique and fun flavors including Chocolate Banana, Cookies and Cream, Green Tea and Almond Crush. Pocky has acquired many fans across the globe for all its different creative flavors. Pocky also came out with a popular ice cream flavor, Chocolate Mint! They often introduce limited-edition flavors for excitement. The ingredients in this flavor offer the perfect amount of cocoa to complement the mint-flavored coating. This combination of crunchy bittersweet cocoa and smooth, refreshing mint was created to have you feeling cool and invigorated. These were available during summer to “cool you down”. Might make a great beach snack but you’ll need to eat them quickly so your refreshing mint coating doesn’t melt! Of course, there are many more fun flavors like giant cantaloupe, pumpkin apple, pizza, and trinity orange peel. But the most popular pocky flavors are, chocolate, strawberry, squeeze grape, squeeze peach, banana chocolate, almond, blueberry and strawberry yogurt.
6. Pocky Collaborated with Capcom
Yes, its true Pocky is featured with street fighters in a popular worldwide video game. Capcom and Pocky came together for a game called Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition. The collaboration is called the Pocky K.O. Challenge, and it is open to players across the world. Glico describes how the video game is played, “Pocky K.O.” takes place when a player wins a Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition match while the player has a health gauge that looks like a Pocky stick. Players can attain the opportunity of a Pocky K.O., called a “Pocky Chance,” when the ratio of the health bar-to-damage received looks like a Pocky stick”. It’s neat that if you turn a Pocky stick on its side, it can resemble a fighting game health bar. Hirohisa Tamai, assistant global brand manager at Ezaki Glico Co., Ltd commented that “gaming is an incredible experience that unifies a community across the world and we’re excited to partner with Capcom to create a unique, one-of-a-kind experience. We at Pocky have spirit and we love to share happiness. Esports brings happiness to every member of the audience and we want to help share the joy and excitement alongside them”. Even though the rules of this game are simple, the game is quite difficult to play but anyone up for the challenge should go for it!
5. Sakura Matcha Pocky
The Sakura Matcha Pocky was specially created for the Japanese Cherry Blossom season in 2020. Japan’s love for the iconic flowers and their immaculate beauty has people celebrating and joining the flower fun. Japanese confectioner Glico got the sakura celebration kick-started by adding two flavors to the lineup for its Pocky chocolate-coated pretzel stick series. They are starting the party with a “Taste of Japan,” as they came out with two of the most Japanese flavors of all: sakura cherry blossom and matcha green tea. Matcha Pocky has a chocolate coating that is enhanced with matcha green tea powder to create a balanced mix of sweet and bitter notes. The sakura content comes from the biscuit sticks. The dough is made with sakura leaf extract kneaded into it before baking. The cherry blossom version buttery pretzel sticks covered with sakura chocolate. Sakura is described as sweet and salty with a touch of floral fragrance that is very mild yet tasty. The pocky sticks are lightly dusted with salt and granular sugar, to give them a bit of a reminder to salt-preserved sakura flowers and leaves.
4. Pocky is a Good Way to Curb Sugar Cravings
These Japanese biscuit sticks are a healthy treat? Perhaps, not the ideal choice when you are trying to watch your diet or aiming to live a healthier lifestyle but we all need a little sweetness to satisfy our sweet tooth. It’s not the most nutritious food but it’s a great way to settle that chocolate craving without overdoing it or sending your body into a sugar overload. Each package is a small portion. A Reddit user commented that “it’s not kale but a pack of 5 of these bad boys covered in chocolate and almonds will only cost you 90 CALORIES”. Sounds good to us! it’s like a mini dessert and they do say good things come in small packages.
3. Pocky on the Rocks
Pocky on the what? Well, according to their marketing tactics it seems Pocky’s are for adults. Sure, teenagers and kids love them just as much but there is one flavor parents should forbid. That flavor is adult amber whiskey. While this flavor is sold exclusively in Japan, it was designed specifically to be enjoyed with whiskey. It includes malt extract and the bitter chocolate that has a whiskey aroma to it as well. The packaging looks very elegant and classy too! How did this come about? Well, marketers who were working on a sales growth plan had overheard that Pocky was being used in different cafés and restaurants as a stir stick! This inspired the theme for the new marketing campaign at the time which was based around whiskey and using them as a stir stick and snack to enjoy on the side as customers sip on their drinks. In some bars, it is served with a glass of ice water or milk as a tasty treat. We are hoping for the whole pack of Pocky sticks served in our glass of milk!
2. Pocky Day
Just like the States has national pancake day, or hug your dog day and even hobbit day in Japan they have Pocky day. “Pocky Day” or as they call it in Japan “Pokki no Hi” (ポッキーの日) has become very popular! It’s an unofficial national day of celebration for the famous Japanese chocolate sticks made by the food company Glico, located in Osaka. So, if you are a Pocky fan mark this one in your calendar for November 11th and celebrate with your favorite Pocky flavors! Why November 11th? When you write the date all in numerals you get 11-11, and a pocky stick is essentially like the number 1. So, those four vertical lines are thought to best resemble a handful of delicious sweet Pocky sticks. And how does Japan celebrate this tasty day? Naturally, they are devouring boxes of different Pocky flavors but they also reuse the chocolate-covered pretzel sticks into works art! That’s right people get loads of these chocolate covered treats and create all sorts of Pocky architecture like towers or spiraling buildings. Who knew Pocky sticks could be used instead of Lego pieces? The best part is you can eat your creations afterward! Others like to host a “Pocky party” and enjoy Pocky together and watch Pocky commercials. Glico made commercials and events to help promote this national day on November 11th. They wanted everyone to enjoy and celebrate this day with them. They even created a dance that was performed by a trio they called “Sharehappi”. The dance quickly went viral. Nowadays it’s a well-known dance and children know every move by heart. Their campaign also encourages people to send a picture of themselves with Pocky to enter for a chance to feature on a billboard in Dotonbori, Osaka.
1. Worldwide Distribution
The tasty pretzel/biscuit sticks have become a popular brand recognized globally. It’s fair to say people everywhere have tried or at least heard of the brand. Pocky is a very popular treat in Japan, but they have a huge presence in Asian countries including China, Thailand, Indonesia, South Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam, Philippines and many more. In Malaysia, Pocky was sold under the name “Rocky” for four decades. In 2014 it was rebranded under the name “Pocky” with a new package design and slogan. Of course, you can also find Pocky across Europe. Licensed by Mondelez International, it is sold under the name “Mikado”. So you could be eating Pocky and not even know it with all of its different monikers. As Pocky spread across the globe it found its way to more and more countries. In Europe, they can be found in Austria, Germany, Greece, Italy, France, Spain, Ireland, Switzerland, Belgium, England and more. These tasty bites are also found in Australia and New Zealand where they are usually sold in Asian supermarkets or convenience stores. Last but not least Pocky entered into the Canadian and American markets as well, where they became very popular. In Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States they are on the shelves in the international sections of many large supermarket chains like Walmart.