Japanese snack maker Ezaki Glico's chocolate pretzel snack Pocky is a popular staple at home, but now they hope it can charm the West to join the billion-dollar club alongside global chocolate giants.
This iconic Japanese snack is taking on the world to challenge the likes of Hershey's and Oreo. Pocky - the stick-shaped, chocolate-coated pretzels have been made by snack maker Ezaki Glico since 1967 and currently sell half a billion of these red boxes a year in around 30 countries. (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS REPORTER, YONGGI KANG, SAYING: "Japan's shrinking population - and its stomachs - are making it even more important for Glico to expand globally. That's why the company has set the ambitious goal of selling one billion dollars of Pocky by 2020." That's a big target if you look at Pocky's well-known global rivals. There are only 21 brands in the world that belong to this billion-dollar club and Pocky is aiming to be the first Asian name. But Glico has to move quickly out of its home market to more than double its sales in seven years. The product is expanding its brand recognition in Southeast Asia where its aggressive marketing strategy seems to be working. Pocky has had massive success in Indonesia, where sales surged five times last year after enlisting popular local girl group JKT48 to showcase the sweets on TV. But Glico says Pocky's one-billion-dollar target is just a halfway point. And the real challenge is in the U.S. market, where big retailers like Wal-Mart and Costco are a hard nut to crack. But the company also hopes that if they're successful there, there will be a lot more red on the shelves and black in the ledger.