Pepero is involved in a controversy with the Japanese product Pocky.
As of 2013, it is sold in 7 different flavors:
- Regular or Chocolate
- Almond Chocolate
- Nude (chocolate in the center)
- Nude Lemon Cheese
- White Cookie Chocolate
- Hami Melon
Pepero is similar to the Japanese snack Pocky which is manufactured by a Japanese confectionery company Glico since 1966. When Pepero was introduced in 1983, Glico considered taking action against what it considered a copycat snack but found it would be difficult, because Pocky was not sold in Korea. As such Pepero has been claimed to be a Korean version of Pocky, Lotte denies that it was inspired by the product.
Pepero Day is an observance in South Korea similar to Valentine's Day, but held on November 11. The original purpose of the Pepero Day was to exchange peperos with each other in hopes of becoming taller and thinner. The current purpose is to exchange peperos to show affection for friends and loved-ones.
The exact origins of this day are unknown.  The origins are usually traced to a news story set in 1983. In the story, two female middle school students in the Yeongnam region exchanged peperos wishing that they would both become tall and thin. There is some doubt about this story. Some argue that the origin was due to the shape of 1’s in the date (November 11 – 11/11) resembling peperos. While some attribute the similarity of shapes as factors that attributed to the popularity but not its origin.
The fad spread with the idea that, for maximum effectiveness for height and thinness, one must eat it on November 11, 11:11 at 11 seconds exactly. From 1997, Lotte started to use the aforementioned school story to successfully promote Pepero Day. The trend led to other companies creating similar-shaped snacks to participate on Pepero Day. As of 2012, Lotte was making 50% of its annual sales on Pepero Day. As of 2013, several department stores including Hyundai Department Store, Sinsegae, and Lotte Department Store were benefiting for people celebrating the day while stores such as E-mart and Homeplus were specially displaying and selling peperos on the day.
Pepero Day has been criticized for being a business tool of certain companies and for having high calories which is contradictory to its original meaning. Alternatives include "Garaetteok Day", which promotes Farmer’s Day through exchanges of garatteok (sticks of white tteok).
- (Korean) Pepero Type
- "製品の歴史 ポッキー編" [Product history - Pocky] (in Japanese). Ezaki Glico. archived at http://archive.is/38KFW
- Park, Tae-Hee (November 7, 2013). "Glico finds partner for Korean market". Korea Joongang Daily (JoongAng Ilbo). Retrieved December 27, 2013.
- Gale, Alastair (November 11, 2013). "On Pepero Day, a Japanese Rival Lurks". Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Retrieved November 11, 2013.
- "グリコの「本家」ポッキー、韓国上陸へ ロッテに対抗" [Glico's original, Pocky to land Korea competing against Lotte] (in Japanese). The Asahi Shimbun. May 15, 2013. archived at http://archive.is/xcNbJ
- "빼빼로데이" [Pepero Day] (in Korean). Parkmungak. Retrieved November 11, 2013.
- Imatome-Yun, Naomi. "November 11th is Pepero Day". About.com. Retrieved November 11, 2013.
- "[SS현장] '빼빼로 데이' 일부 소비자 "과소비 조장"…롯데마트 "안 사면 그만"". Sportsseoul.com. November 11, 2013. Retrieved November 11, 2013.
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