World Pocky Day, celebrated on 11/11 because the date’s numbers correspond to the stick-like shape of the snack, will commemorate 55 years of the iconic treat this year.
The Japanese snack company Glico first launched the Pocky in its iconic chocolate flavor in 1966. According to Glico’s website, the original snack combines a savory pretzel base dipped in milk chocolate, creating the signature sweet and savory balance. The name Pocky is derived from the sound the makers believed was made when you snap the stick: the makers believed it sounded like pokkin.
A defining feature of Pocky’s design is the little sliver at the very bottom of the stick which remains undipped, allowing snackers to keep their hands clean and chocolate-free. This design was inspired by kushi katsu, a popular snack food in Osaka that features fried pork and vegetables served on a wooden skewer.
During the 1970s, the company began experimenting with other flavors, including almond and strawberry. Today, there are more than 50 varieties offered across global markets, including premium flavors, low-calorie versions, thicker sticks, and more. Nov. 11 also is Pretz Day, referring to Glico’s savory version of Pocky, which has just the pretzel stick with no sweet coating and comes in flavors like salad and tomato.
Although Pocky was launched in other Asian countries as well as Europe in the 1980s and 1990s, the product didn’t come to the U.S. until 2003. Other countries generally enjoy more flavors of Pocky than are sold to the U.S. market, where currently only five flavors are offered.
Pocky Day is officially recognized by the Japan Anniversary Association.
Featured Image via Matt Stonie