The History of Pocky Sticks: How a Japanese Snack Conquered the World

Jan 23, 2024

Did you know Pocky, the Japanese sweet snack food, has been around since 1966?

The history of Pocky is an epic tale that started in Japan over half a century ago as a simple snack. Since then it's encircled the globe, becoming a cultural icon and a global sensation.

In this article, we'll share more about Pocky's rich history and uncover how it became a household name. Get ready to be charmed by the story of a snack that crossed oceans, touched hearts, and conquered taste buds worldwide!

→ Shop now: Our handpicked range of Pocky Sticks

What Is Pocky?

Pocky is a slim, crunchy, biscuit stick that comes with a smooth, chocolate coating. Pocky is available in a wide range of flavours - from chocolate to mango to pumpkin. We enjoy eating Pocky as snack on many occasions: when enjoying a cold drink in a bar, want something sweet with coffee, or just crave an irresistible snack.

Plate of Pocky sticks

Where Are Pocky Sticks From?

Pocky sticks were first introduced to Japan in 1966, and went on to gain worldwide recognition thanks to their irresistible taste and iconic design.

Original Pocky Sticks 1966

The Original Pocky Sticks From 1966 (Image source: Glico)

How Do You Pronounce Pocky?

Pocky is pronounced "po-kee" - it's like "rocky" except with a "p" instead of a "r".

Pocky gets its name from the Japanese onomatopoeic word "pokkiri" which resembles the sound of the crunch when you bite on it. Around the world, it has different names - in Malaysia, people call it Rocky, and in Europe, it's manufactured under the brand name Mikado.

What Does Pocky Taste Like?

There are over 50 types of Pocky out there, with all sorts of fun textures and flavours. These range from tried-and-tested originals to limited special editions to seasonal favourites. This makes choosing a different flavour of Pocky like picking a new adventure to go on!

The crisp biscuit provides a satisfying crunch, while the creamy coating adds a luscious sweetness and smooth texture that varies depending on the flavour. You might stumble upon ones with orange zest, sweet red bean, matcha green tea, cookies and cream, or even a box with seven different flavours crammed in.

The Story of Pocky

Pocky was invented by a Japanese man named Yoshiaki Koma. In 1966, Ezaki Glico Co. sold the first sticks in Japan. People immediately loved the original chocolate-coated biscuit sticks, leading to new flavours like Almond Pocky in 1971 and Strawberry Pocky five years later. In 1970, the Thai branch, Thai Glico Co. was born, helping to popularise Pocky across Southeast Asia.

The 1980s was a time of fun new Pocky varieties like Bitter Pocky, Little Pocky, and Almond Crush Pocky. The following decade, the '90s, brought us fantastic types like Marble Pocky and Chunky Strawberry Pocky, which had real freeze-dried strawberry bits.

In the 2000s, Pocky flavours came with matcha, strawberry, and white chocolate. They even made a fancier version called Decorer, or Gorgeous Pocky.

By the 2010s, Pocky was everywhere around the world. Pocky was one of the most iconic Japanese sweets. There were many kinds to try, but many people were digging the classic Red Box Pocky again. Glico noticed and decided to bring back the spotlight to their original Pocky. Now, you can find plenty of Pocky flavours all over the place!

Pocky's Cultural Impact

Early Days

Pocky sticks were popular right from the start and they quickly became the chocolate snack of choice not only for children, but for many grown-ups across Asia!

In the 1970s, when the marketing folks at Glico noticed that people were using Pocky sticks as stylish and tasty stirrers for their drinks in cafes and bars, they jumped on the opportunity. They launched campaigns called "Pocky on the Rocks," tying Pocky to the world of drinks and bars. Now, Pocky's mixed into cocktail recipes and served with alcohol like a treat. But don't think Pocky is just for sipping cocktails, we also love it with a cold glass of water or milk.

Another popular campaign slogan from the same era was "Pocky for your trip" which featured in a popular Japanese magazine. Off the back of this, there was a domestic travel boom amongst young female university students. This turned Pocky into an iconic part of young women's fashion.

Recent Times

Pocky continues to be everywhere in Japan, popping up in pop culture, celebrated on "Pocky Day," played within the Pocky Game, and found all over in stores.

The first Pocky Day was on 11th November 1999! In the Japanese calendar, that year was Heisei 11, so the date was 11/11/11, resembling a bunch of Pocky treats lined up!

Pocky Day Glico

Pocky Day Marketing (Image source: Glico)

The Pocky Game is a two player game where two people eat a Pocky stick from different ends. The aim of the game is to get to the middle of the Pocky stick first. If your mouth comes off the Pocky stick then you lose. If the participants meet in the middle, the game is drawn.

Since Pocky is so typical in daily life, it's even shown up in anime on "Itadakimasu Anime." Whether anime characters save the day, chat with critters, or just hang out, they often munch on Pocky, just like we do.

Pocky's Global Reach

Who knew a simple chocolate-coated biscuit stick could take the world by storm?

Pocky was so good at winning over hearts in 1960s Japan that Glico made a decision to expand internationally. It launched in Thailand in 1970, France in 1982, Canada in 1987, China in 1995 and USA in 2003.

Pocky's charm was so universal that it was able to bypass cultural boundaries with its light, crisp texture and various flavours. Pocky's sweet presence is felt and cherished from Japan to the rest of the world. For many, it's not just a snack; it's a symbol of shared happiness.

Pocky Flavours and Varieties

Pocky has continually reinvented snack time, offering an array of unique flavours that cater to many tastes. There's a whole world of flavours, however here are our personal top 10 favourite Pocky flavours we've enjoyed over the years.

  1. Chocolate Pocky: The original, simple yet irresistible, smooth chocolate-coated biscuit stick.
  2. Strawberry Pocky: Dipped in creamy strawberry frosting, this variety brings extravagance to your snack cupboard.
  3. Milky Matcha Green Tea Pocky: Infused with the earthy tones of matcha, these sticks are a nod to traditional Japanese tea ceremonies.
  4. Chocolate Banana Pocky: The perfect blend of chocolate and banana, reminiscent of a decadent dessert.
  5. Cookies and Cream Pocky: Coated with white chocolate and cookie bits, this is a crunchy and sweet treat.
  6. Mango Pocky: Exotic mango flavour meets the classic crunch, transporting your senses to tropical worlds.
  7. Almond Crush Pocky: A layer of chocolate studded with bits of roasted almond for a nutty crunch.
  8. Choco Mint Pocky: A refreshing twist with a cool mint chocolate layer embracing the crisp biscuit.
  9. Honey Pocky: Sweet, golden honey glazing over the light, crunchy stick for a comforting nibble.
  10. Giant Chocolate Pocky: Taking the chocolate Pocky experience up a notch with a larger stick and a thicker chocolate coating.
Popular Pocky Stick Varieties

Pocky-Inspired Recipes

Pocky is fun and easy to incorporate into some of your favourite home recipes. Feel free to experiment with any dish that needs extra crunch or sweetness. Below are some of our tried-and-tested Pocky-inspired recipes.

Pocky Breakfast Parfait

Kickstart your day with an Asian-inspired treat! Pocky Sticks Breakfast Parfait combines the indulgence of your favourite Pocky sticks with the wholesome goodness of granola, Greek yoghurt, and fresh fruits. It's a creative, nutritious, and delicious way to brighten up your breakfast routine.

  1. Prepare first layer: Prepare your glass or bowl and begin by placing a layer of granola or muesli at the bottom. Cover the cereal base with Greek yoghurt, then add a layer of sliced banana and a generous portion of berries on top of the yoghurt.

  2. Add extra layers: Repeat the sequence with more cereal, yoghurt, and fruit until you reach the top.

  3. Add Pocky: Introduce your favourite Pocky Sticks into the parfait, ensuring most of the stick is exposed for easy access.

  4. Drizzle something sweet : Enhance with a light drizzle of honey or maple syrup for extra sweetness, if preferred.

  5. Serve: Enjoy immediately. Use the Pocky Sticks to dip into the parfait, experiencing a delightful combination of textures and flavours.

Pocky Parfait

Pocky Tiramasu

A creative twist on the classic Italian dish of tiramisu using Pocky sticks instead of ladyfingers. This results in a unique, crunchy texture that complements the soft and velvety texture.

  1. Prepare filling: Beat mascarpone, cream, sugar, and vanilla until stiff peaks form.

  2. Dip Pocky sticks: Briefly dip Pocky sticks in a mix of espresso and liqueur (optional) in a shallow bowl.

  3. Layer the dessert: Place a layer of dipped Pocky sticks in a dish and spread a layer of the mascarpone mixture over the top.

  4. Repeat layers: Add another set of dipped Pocky sticks and top with another layer of mascarpone mix. Finally, Sprinkle cocoa powder on top.

  5. Chill and serve: Refrigerate to set the layers and enjoy once chilled and set.

Crunchy Pocky Cheesecake Crust

Transform your cheesecake with a Crunchy Pocky Cheesecake Crust. This inventive take uses crushed Pocky sticks for the base, giving your cheesecake a distinctive, rich flavour and a delightful crunchy texture that sets it apart from the usual graham cracker crust.

  1. Crush Pocky: Finely grind Pocky sticks to create the base.
  2. Mix and press: Combine crushed Pocky with melted butter. Press evenly into a pan to form the crust.
  3. Bake or Chill: For a firmer crust, bake briefly. Alternatively, chill in the fridge for a no-bake option.

Pocky Ice Cream Toppings

Finish off your favourite ice cream with a sprinkle of Pocky magic. Chop them up and scatter on top of your ice cream scoops to add an extra dimension of flavour and texture. The fusion of the cold, creamy ice cream, and the crisp Pocky pieces creates a playful contrast that's sure to delight your taste buds as well as your imagination.

  1. Chop Pocky: Cut Pocky sticks into small pieces.
  2. Sprinkle over ice cream: Scatter the chopped Pocky over your choice of ice cream.
  3. Serve immediately: Enjoy the mix of creamy ice cream and crunchy Pocky bits.

Where Can I Buy Pocky?

Are you trying to find the perfect Pocky sticks to satisfy your cravings? Look no further than your local Asian grocery store, which are treasure troves for these delightful Japanese snacks.

From delicious matcha green tea to the rich almond and chocolate, makes your hunt for the perfect Pocky snack fun and rewarding!

Final Word

As our journey through the story of Pocky comes to a close, it's clear that these delightful snacks have captured hearts and imaginations everywhere. What began as a simple chocolate-coated biscuit stick has become a global phenomenon, earning a special place in snack drawers and memories worldwide.

Get your hands on different Pocky flavours and be part of the worldwide love affair with these Japanese snacks. A whole world of Pocky flavours is out there just waiting to be discovered, and trust us, it's a journey your taste buds won't regret embarking on.

→ Shop now: Our handpicked range of Pocky Sticks

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