Pocky is a sweet Japanese snack food launched in 1966. Traditionally, it was sold as chocolate-coated biscuit sticks. The name “Pocky” derives from the Japanese word pokiri, meaning a snapping sound. Yoshiaki Koma invented the delectable snack, and Ezaki Glico Co. Ltd. produced it. Today, Pocky is a significant name in the snack world. It is available in more than thirty countries worldwide. With hundreds of flavors and clever make, Pocky is one of Japan’s most iconic inventions.
Japanese food company Ezaki Glico started producing Pocky over half a century ago. It is one of the most prominent snack foods in Asian countries like Thailand, India, South Korea, China, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Taiwan. Mondelēz International produces the snack in European countries like Germany, Belgium, France, Greece, Italy, and the UK. The delectable sweet snack is available in flavors like banana, cream cheese, lychee, caramel, coffee, coconut, sweet potato, blueberry, green tea, and many more.
In 1882, Ezaki Glico’s founder Riichi Ezaki was born in the capital of Saga Prefecture, the Saga city on the island of Kyushu, Japan. Riichi completed his elementary education and joined the family’s pharmaceutical production business at fourteen. He continued to study middle school while assisting his family. Around the same time, Mr. Sayokichi Naramura, a teacher in the neighborhood, tutored him. Through Mr. Naramura, Riichi learned various things about business studies. The most important thing he understood was business is a form of service. Mr. Naramura told Riichi that through a deal, the seller earns profit for himself, whereas the buyer profits by obtaining f a good quality product.
During the 1900s, Riichi Ezaki came across a newspaper article that mentioned the benefits of glycogen found in oysters. Later, in 1919, Ezaki met a fisherman on the Chikugo river bank. The fisherman was boiling oysters. Riichi asked the fisherman for an oyster sample. Later, he took it to the Kyushu Imperial University hospital in Fukuoka, Kyushu. After the analysis, glycogen was reported to be one of the main components in the oyster. The same year, Ezaki’s son was diagnosed with typhoid fever. His recovery took longer than expected. As a result, Riichi asked a family doctor about feeding glycogen to his son. At the time, glycogen was not scientifically proven to be an energy source. However, the doctor agreed, and Ezaki gave glycogen to his son. Surprisingly, his son felt better, and Ezaki decided to use glycogen as a medicinal product.
Beginning of Pocky
After deciding to sell glycogen as a pharmaceutical product, Ezaki took a doctor’s opinion. The doctor told Ezaki that glycogen is better at enhancing children’s health. As a result, Riichi started thinking of ways to include glycogen in children’s meals. Finally, he came up with the idea of producing glycogen caramel. On the 11th of February, 1922, Riichi started selling the heart-shaped glycogen caramel candy. The packaging consisted of a red-colored box with a marathon runner. However, it was not easy for Ezaki to enter the confectionery world. He knew that people would not buy a food product unless its sold in a famous departmental store. Consequently, he contacted one of the leading department stores in Osaka. After several attempts, Ezaki put “Glico” on the store shelves.
Mitsukoshi department store of Osaka accepted Glico. After the product’s launch, the sales increased considerably. By 1925, the company expanded its factories in Osaka to meet the high demand. In the following years, the Ezaki Glico food company grew progressively. However, it was in 1966 when it began producing the iconic sweet snack, “Pocky.” “Kushikatsu,” a Japanese skewered pork dish, inspired Pocky’s design. Yoshiaki Koma invented Pocky as a chocolate-coated biscuit stick with a small portion of uncoated biscuit stick. He designed it so people could eat it without getting their hands covered in chocolate.
The original version of Pocky consisted of dark chocolate and wafer sticks. It instantly gained recognition among the Japanese people. Within four years of establishment, Pocky sales grew progressively. As a result, Ezaki established its production house in Thailand. Pocky’s demand grew across Japan and began reaching South Asian countries. In 1971, Glico launched Pocky’s new flavor. It was the iconic almond-coated variant. Later, in 1976, the company launched a strawberry-coated version of the biscuit stick. During the 1970s, restaurants and bars had already started serving Pocky as drink stirrers and snacks.
After gaining recognition across Japan and South Asian countries, the sweet biscuit stick debuted in European countries. During the 1980s, Ezaki Glico established Generale Biscuit Glico France S.A. to import and sell its products across Europe and the UK. Later, in 1987, Pocky entered the snack world of Canada. By then, the chocolate-coated sticks had started gaining worldwide recognition. However, the snack joined the Chinese and American markets between the mid-90s and early 2000s. In 2020, Pocky registered itself in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the world’s best-selling chocolate-coated biscuit brand. Every year, Glico sells more than 500 million boxes of Pocky worldwide, making it one of the most prominent sweet snack foods.
Why is Pocky popular?
Pocky is famous for its affordability, convenience, and delectable flavors. People love to munch on chocolate-coated biscuit sticks. It started with one flavor, but today the brand sells over fifty flavors globally.
Who owns Pocky?
Ezaki Glico Co. Ltd. owns Pocky. The company launched it in 1966 as a chocolate biscuit stick. Within a few years of launching, the sweet snack gained recognition across Japan and made its debut in other South Asian countries.
Is Pocky a healthy snack?
Pocky is a delectable and affordable sweet snack. However, it might not be the ideal snack while on a diet. A pack of Pocky contains approximately 250 calories. But, consuming it in moderation won’t do any harm.