Chocolate Sticks Showdown: Pocky, Pepero, Fran, and Toppo Compared – Bokksu Market

Chocolate Sticks Showdown: Pocky, Pepero, Fran, and Toppo Compared

by Bokksu Staff

A surprisingly large number of people around the world struggle with the difference between the four big brands of Asian chocolate sticks: Pocky, Pepero, Fran, and Toppo. Let’s help you make the best choice with a detailed comparison of these beloved snacks.

Chocolate Sticks: A Global Snacking Phenomenon

Chocolate sticks in a glass cup

A chocolate stick is a type of candy made by coating or filling biscuits with chocolate. The biscuits tend to be long and tiny, like a stick. They are also soft, causing the snack to melt in your mouth after a few bites and leave you with the taste of sweetened or flavored chocolate. These snacks are popular among teenagers around the world, especially in Asian countries such as Japan, China, South Korea, and India. Four brands dominate the chocolate stick market: Pocky, Pepero, Fran, and Toppo. In this post, we’ll compare each of them and provide details of their origins and flavors. Let’s find out what makes them unique!

Pocky: The Pioneer of Chocolate Sticks

Pocky chocolate sticks

A product of the Ezaki Glico food company, Pocky chocolate stick has been around since 1966, longer than any of the other three brands. It consists of chocolate-dipped biscuit sticks. Only one end of each stick is coated in chocolate, leaving the other end free for the consumer to hold. This design prevents kids from messing up their fingers with chocolate.

Today, you can find different variations of Pocky, many of which offer a delightful mix of chocolate and fruity flavors. One of the first sets of new variants after the original to become popular globally is the strawberry-flavored Pocky. Its modern version, Pocky: Crunchy Strawberry, is one of several existing strawberry flavors. The added crunchiness brings a unique perspective to the snack.

Glico Pocky: Crunchy Strawberry

A fruity, chocolatey treat you'll love, this Pocky's lightly bitter cocoa biscuit nicely complements its sweet and tart chocolate coating made with real strawberry powder. And here’s a berry nice fact - this type of Pocky is called tsubu tsubu (bumpy) in Japan for its crunchy freeze-dried strawberry crumbles on the outside!

Common Allergens: Milk, Tree Nuts, Wheat, Soy. May also contain: Eggs, Peanuts.

1.79 oz

If you’re looking for a more mature take on the Japanese snack, Pocky: Matcha Green Tea may be what you seek. It combines the slightly bitter taste of matcha with melted chocolate.

Glico Pocky: Matcha Green Tea

While Pocky continues to expand their menu of high-quality flavors, we’re still crunching on the Matcha Green Tea. This Pocky came before a lot of matcha-flavored goods on the market, and for many, it was a first foray into the culinary world of Japan’s most famous green tea. For the uninitiated, Pocky is a stick-thin biscuit dipped in melted chocolate (and occasionally other toppings), with one undipped end left for holding.

Common Allergens: Milk, Tree Nuts, Wheat, Soy.

2.47 oz

The Origin and Evolution of Pocky

Ezaki Glico was first established in 1922, approximately 44 years before they manufactured the first ever Pocky. The name originated from the Japanese word pokkiri, which means “with a snap,” a reference to the sound made when eating the cookies. Invented by Yoshiaki Koma in 1966, the initial product was slightly different from what we’re used to these days. It also consisted of crunchy biscuit sticks and chocolate dipping, much like the modern version. However, the entire stick was dipped in melted chocolate, which led to people complaining of messy fingers after eating. As the years passed, Glico refined the design by coating only a portion of the sticks with chocolate, effectively solving the problem of messy fingers.

Although the original Pocky product only included melted chocolate and cream flavors, the company added a new, almond-coated option in 1971. The year 1976 saw the invention of the strawberry-flavored version. Today, Glico boasts at least 50 distinct Pocky products, including chocolate, strawberry, cookies and cream, banana, and matcha. Sizes range from 1.41 oz to 4.57 oz. The chocolate sticks can be found anywhere in the world, thanks to a surge in sales and distribution during the 2010s.

Why Pocky Stands Out: Flavor and Crunch

Being one of the pioneers of chocolate sticks in Japan is not the only reason for Pocky’s global popularity. The brand has a lot more going for it, and two of these key qualities are its taste and texture. Pocky’s biscuit sticks are made from wheat flour, milk powder, and other ingredients. They are covered in creamy dips of chocolate or other flavors, and the taste of crunchy biscuit is so subtle that it doesn’t overpower that of the creamy coating. The product is also light and compact, making it easy to carry around and eat as a quick snack when you’re hungry. One pack can come with over a dozen sticks, which adds to its extreme shareability. Lastly, pocky comes in a wide variety of flavors. This has allowed certain variants to perform well in specific countries. For example, Pocky: Chocolate Banana is one of the most popular products in the US. It’s made of soft biscuits, white chocolate, and banana cream - the perfect combo for American lovers of banana split.

Glico Pocky: Chocolate Banana

Love bananas? Fall head over peels for this chocolate banana Japanese Pocky! A crunchy cocoa biscuit stick coated in a fruity banana cream white chocolate - it’s the perfect snack for banana split fans everywhere!

Common Allergens: Milk, Wheat, Soy. May also contain: Tree Nuts.

2.47 oz

Pepero: Korea's Answer to Chocolate-Covered Bliss

Pepero chocolate sticks

Pepero is a popular brand of chocolate sticks from Korea. The stick-shaped cookies are made from pretzels, a type of salty and crisp biscuit. They are arguably the most well-known snack in South Korea, and both kids and adults adore them. In fact, these cookies are so popular in Korea that November 11 is called Pepero Day and is dedicated to the brand. On Pepero Day, the chocolate-coated biscuits are shared between friends, couples, and family. The practice is especially popular among kids and young adults. November 11 also coincides with the Chinese celebration of Single’s Day. There is some speculation that this clash is just a coincidence and Pepero Day happens to be on November 11 because “11/11” looks like pairs of Pepero sticks aligned side-by-side. Some people even go as far as eating the cookie sticks at exactly 11:11 AM and 11:11 PM for 11 seconds. That’s how much Koreans love Pepero!

The brand offers a variety of products by mixing different flavors and ingredients. Most Pepero products coat the sticks with chocolate, while others fill them with it. On a global scale, Pepero: White Chocolate Cookie is one of the most popular. It has a topping made from cookie crumbs and is the perfect treat during and in between everyday activities.

Lotte Pepero: White Chocolate Cookie

This popular Korean snack consists of a crispy biscuit stick dipped in creamy white chocolate and topped with cookie crumbs! It’s the perfect fun and sweet treat for TV binging, car rides, snack times, study dates, and more!

Common Allergens: Milk, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Wheat, Soy.

1.13 oz

The Pepero: Chocolate Filled is a direct alternative for people who prefer to eat snacks with filling instead of coating. In mere seconds, a few bites will deliver all of that delectable chocolate into your mouth.

Lotte Pepero: Chocolate Filled

A sweet treat with no mess! Lotte Pepero’s crunchy biscuits are filled with a sweet chocolate filling on the inside. Loved by adults and children alike across Asia, you’ll love these yummy chocolate filled biscuit sticks!

Common Allergens: Milk, Egg, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Wheat, Soy.

Please Note: If temperatures in your location are above 28°C (82°F), this chocolate product may get heat damaged in transit. We cannot be held responsible for any temperature-related damages caused during shipping.

1.76 oz

Pepero's Rise to Fame in Korean Snacks

Pepero manufacturers, the Lotte Food Company, are one of the biggest organizations in Asia. They created Pepero in 1983. Because of the similarities between the two products, it didn’t take people long to draw a comparison between Pepero and Pocky, which had been launched 17 years prior. Lotte has since denied any trademark infringement and stated that Pepero was created to serve the needs of the Korean demographic craving chocolate sticks. The company has gone on to produce dozens of new Pepero products in a variety of flavors, including chocolate, almond, white cookie, and peanut. Some of these flavors are only available in specific countries, like Korea or the United States.

Comparing Pepero and Pocky: More Than Just Snacks

Pocky and Pepero are nearly identical in some ways. However, certain features set them apart from each other. They both have one end of the chocolate stick serving as the handle. They also have similar flavor options, including strawberry and almond. The biggest difference is that Pocky is a Japanese brand, while Pepero originated in South Korea. Pepero Day also has a Japanese equivalent called Pocky Day. Just like Korea’s Pepero Day, Pocky Day is celebrated on November 11 in Japan. However, Pepero was the first of the two snacks to have its own commercial holiday. One small difference to note is that all Pocky products are coated with chocolate or other ingredients, but there are a few Pepero products that use fillings instead. 

Fran: The Gourmet Choice for Chocolate Aficionados

Fran chocolate sticks

Once they come out of the package, Fran sticks look a lot like Pocky and Pepero. These chocolate sticks are sometimes referred to as “luxury Pocky” or “premium Pocky” due to their rich flavors. Like with Pocky, Fran tastes fantastic with milk, tea, or coffee. The Fran brand is the property of Meiji, one of Japan’s biggest food companies. They were established in 1916, a time when they were focused on creating sugar and dairy products. The company uses this expertise to strike the perfect balance of milk, sugar, and chocolate in their Fran cookies. Fran Baked Biscuit Cookies: Original Chocolate is a direct substitute for the typical Pocky chocolate sticks. The biscuits are thicker and the sticks have a fuller coating of rich chocolate.

Meiji Fran Baked Biscuit Cookies: Original Chocolate

If you love Pocky, we know you'll love Fran. They're crunchy and thick biscuit sticks, coated with smooth and rich chocolate. Try dunking them in milk, or enjoying alongside tea or coffee.

Common Allergens: Milk, Wheat, Tree Nuts, Soy.

Please Note: If temperatures in your location are above 28°C (82°F), this chocolate product may get heat damaged in transit. We cannot be held responsible for any temperature-related damages caused during shipping.


Fran's Luxurious Layers and Rich Flavors

Fran stands out from most of the other chocolate stick brands thanks to its luxurious chocolate coating. Each stick is dipped in layers of chocolate, producing a richer taste of creamy cocoa. The double-layered version of Fran is the most popular for people who want to enjoy a snack like Pocky but with more chocolate.

Serving Fran: Perfect for Special Occasions

Fran is an ideal snack for social gatherings like tea ceremonies and get-togethers. It pairs well with both coffee and tea. You can also dunk the cookies in milk and eat them for a more delicious experience alone or with friends. Fran’s reputation as premium chocolate sticks makes them an ideal gift to include in your Valentine's Day box of sweet treats.

Toppo: The Inside-Out Delight

Toppo chocolate sticks

Toppo is a brand of chocolate sticks created by the Lotte Food Company, makers of Pepero. It’s a bread-based snack that’s similar to Pocky, but with a twist: the creamy chocolate is used as filling instead of dipping or coating. This small change successfully avoided the problem of messy fingers all together. Lotte does a good job experimenting with different ideas and flavors of Toppo. From chocolate-flavored pretzel sticks with vanilla filling to regular biscuit sticks filled with milk chocolate, you’ll find all sorts of exciting Toppo combinations on the market. If you’ve never had Toppo before or you’re looking for a unique take on chocolate sticks, we recommend Toppo: Vanilla Chocolate. It offers both vanilla and chocolate delights in one snack. You’ll love the vanilla-flavored biscuits filled with milk chocolate.

Lotte Toppo: Vanilla Chocolate

Can’t decide between vanilla and chocolate? Why not have both? These crunchy vanilla-flavored baked pretzel sticks boast a rich milk chocolate filling for the best of both worlds. And, because the chocolate is on the inside, this handy snack keeps your hands clean. Perfect for car-ride snacks and sharing with friends. It’s the perfect chocolate and vanilla snack for all to enjoy.

Common Allergens: Milk, Egg, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Wheat, Soy.

Please Note: If temperatures in your location are above 28°C (82°F), this chocolate product may get heat damaged in transit. We cannot be held responsible for any temperature-related damages caused during shipping.

1.41 oz

What Makes Toppo Unique: Filled with Chocolate Goodness

Despite heavy competition from other chocolate stick brands in Asia, Toppo has found success globally. This is because of the distinctive features that made the snacks stand out among the rest. Filling the biscuit sticks with chocolate instead of coating them allowed Toppo to serve a demographic of people who prefer their chocolate sticks that way. The combination of different biscuit flavorings and fillings has also helped.

Toppo vs. Pocky: A Reverse Twist on the Classic

The cookie sticks of Pocky products are thin and chocolate-dipped. Those of Toppo are thicker, hollower, and chocolate-filled. In terms of flavors, both brands don’t shy away from providing several options, including strawberry, coffee, and caramel. However, Toppo appears to be more focused on two main flavors: vanilla and chocolate.

The Perfect Balance: Chocolate and Biscuit in Harmony

Assorted chocolate sticks

Making chocolate sticks is tougher than you might think. Too much chocolate will cause the snack to be too mushy, and too little chocolate will make the cookie too dry and crunchy. Ezaki Glico offers the ideal example of how these cookie manufacturers come up with the ideal ratio of chocolate to biscuit. They spend a lot of resources gathering feedback from each country. That way, they can create new product ideas and sample them at festivals and expos.

Lotte, the makers of Pepero and Toppo, use smart data systems to monitor food markets in real time. Their Research and Development (R&D) center analyzes the data and creates valuable insights for making their products, such as the ideal chocolate-to-biscuit ratio.

Chocolate Sticks Across Cultures: Japanese Snacks vs. Korean Snacks

The best way to uncover what chocolate sticks mean to the people of Japan and South Korea is to compare how Pocky Day and Pepero Day are being celebrated in their respective countries. We’ll start with Pocky Day in Japan. The general aim is to spread joy by sharing the snacks with as many loved ones as possible. There’s less emphasis on eating chocolate sticks alone. In terms of flavors, Japanese people prefer chocolate stick snacks with unique flavors, such as tangerine, melon, grape, and adzuki bean.

Pepero Day celebrations in South Korea place more emphasis on eating lots of chocolate sticks in pairs, especially with romantic partners. The flavor preferences are pretty simple, as people in the country love fruity flavors like strawberry.

Sharing the Love: Chocolate Sticks for Friends and Family

Pocky Cookies & Cream

A big part of the culture around chocolate sticks has to do with friends and family. These are the core concepts behind events like Pepero Day and Pocky Day. You can share plain sticks during social events in packs or as individual sticks. People also eat these treats with coffee or tea during social events. Another way to get in on Asian traditions is to offer chocolate sticks as gifts to loved ones.

Packaging and Presentation: What's Inside the Box?

Close observation of the packaging designs of all four brands will reveal lots of similarities. They all have the same rectangular box style, which allows you to put them in your pocket and carry the snacks around easily. You’ll find even more similarities when you open the box. For instance, all of the brands use thin and light stick-shaped biscuits. These are easy to share among members of a gathering. Their packaging designs also tend to have graphical representations of specific flavors. For example, Pocky, Pepero, Toppo, and Fran strawberry-flavored cookies all have images of actual strawberry fruits on the packaging.

Choosing Your Champion in the Chocolate Sticks Arena

Which chocolate brand is your favorite? Pocky gives you the original, crunchy taste of chocolate-coated biscuits. With Pepero, you get a variety of exciting flavors around a pretzel stick. Fran provides that extra chocolate coating, and Toppo gives you cream-filled cookie delight. If you can’t decide which chocolate stick brand might be their favorite, why not try them all? On Bokksu Market, these chocolate sticks are so affordable that you can get a variety of flavors from different brands with ease.

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Chocolate Sticks Showdown: Pocky, Pepero, Fran, and Toppo Compared


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