The Korea Herald


‘Retro’ Pokemon Bread craze shows no sign of stopping soon

By Yim Hyun-su

Published : March 21, 2022 - 17:38

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Pokemon Bread is being sold at a convenience store in Seoul on Mar. 11. (Yonap) Pokemon Bread is being sold at a convenience store in Seoul on Mar. 11. (Yonap)

The craze over Pokemon Bread shows no signs of abating, as the popular pastry series that has recently been revived has induced scenes of people waiting in line at supermarkets and adults posting their search to social media.

According to manufacturer SPC Samlip, the supermarket pastry that comes with a sticker of one of the characters from the global hit anime and video game series Pokemon had sold 6.1 million rolls as of Monday.

That means some 234,000 rolls were sold each day on average since its re-release on Feb. 24. The pastry series was originally released in 1998 in conjunction with the airing of the anime series.

“Our production line is up and running around the clock but it is not enough to supply everyone. We apologize for the inconvenience to the customers,” the company said in a statement.

One official at SPC Samlip said the manufacturer is considering an increase in supply, but nothing has been decided yet.

“One of the appeals seems to be about reminiscing about childhood memories,” said Lee Young-ae, a professor at the department of consumer science at Incheon National University.

“The previous generation grew up watching ‘Pokemon’ and reading the comic books, which was a huge success, so the retro bread is quite familiar.”

On social media, people have been posting pictures of their collection of Pokemon stickers from the pastries and their search to find them.

In a sign of the seriousness of the phenomenon, one viral tweet shows a photo of a poster on the door of a convenience store reading: “Pokemon Bread sold out. Go elsewhere.”

A video by YouTuber Heopp in which he boasts of collecting all 159 stickers has racked up over 1 million views in just two days.

An E-mart store in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province, saw a long line of people from different age groups waiting to get ahold of the popular pastry early in the morning, local news agency News1 reported last week.

Its popularity has prompted analysis of the phenomenon.

The news department of TV network SBS said it is the latest example of the “fandom economy” that means that as long as you have the support of loyal fans, you will never be forgotten.

The daily Hankyoreh published a more serious op-ed, which saw the craze as a sign that the future is being slowly canceled as people look to the past.

“By sharing on social media, you get likes and positive comments from people from the same generation -- it’s the need for recognition,” said professor Lee.

“It is also a way to reaffirm solidarity with friends who experienced the same era and that they are all connected.”

The company saw its stock price jump following the release of Pokemon Bread. Its shares were trading at 92,500 won ($76.10) when the market closed Monday, up more than 15 percent from a month prior.