Most flavors of the popular Japanese snack Pocky are not vegan, but ingredients vary depending on the flavor. The biscuit sticks themselves are usually vegan, but the chocolate coating is not. Some of the other flavors, such as strawberry and cookies and cream, and matcha green tea also contain milk products like milk powder.
What Are the Ingredients in Pocky?
Pocky sticks come in a variety of different flavors, including chocolate, strawberry, cookies and cream, and even matcha green tea.
The ingredients vary depending on the flavor, but generally speaking, the biscuit sticks are made from wheat flour, sugar, a blend of vegetable oils (including hydrogenated palm oil), vegetable oil shortening, soy lecithin, artificial flavors, leavening (sodium bicarbonate, mono and diglycerides of fatty acids, and salt.
The chocolate coating is typically made from cocoa powder, cocoa butter, milk powder, and sugar.
It’s easy to understand that milk powder isn’t something you’d eat on a vegan diet, but two of the ingredients — cocoa butter and palm oil — are questionable when it comes to their vegan status. Cocoa butter is vegan in its natural form, but it’s often combined with animal products like dairy to create white or dark chocolate.
Palm oil is sourced from the fruit of oil palms so it is vegan, but the popularity of palm oil has led to mass deforestation in rainforests. These rainforests are home to dozens of animal species like orangutans, eliminating their habitats and opening them up to poaching.
Vegan Alternatives to Pocky
If you’re looking for a vegan alternative to Pocky sticks, there are a few options available.
One option is Vego Whole Hazelnut Chocolate Bars. These chocolate bars are made with whole hazelnuts and a fair trade dark chocolate coating.
If you want a more traditional Pocky-like snack, you can try Dandies Vegan Marshmallows. These marshmallows are made with natural ingredients and do not contain any gelatin. You could dip these marshmallows in your own vegan chocolate sauce or coating.
Or, if you’d rather make your own to add to coffee or vegan ice cream treats, you can dip pretzel sticks in vegan chocolate or make Pocky-like kabobs with fresh fruit dipped in vegan chocolate and rolled in chopped nuts.
The Bottom Line
Most flavors of Pocky are not vegan, but ingredients vary depending on the flavor. The biscuit sticks themselves are usually vegan, but the coating is not. If you’re vegan, your best bet is to make your own Pocky-like desserts using ingredients like pretzels and vegan chocolate.
Meagan Morris is the editor in chief of Celebribody. She's veteran health and wellness editor with over 15 years of experience. Her work has been featured in The Atlantic, Yahoo Health, Cosmopolitan, SELF, and Women's Health, among others. She spends most of her time writing, but her favorite part of the day is spent under a barbell doing squats.