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[Korea Quiz] Exchanging snacks every NovemberBy Jung Min-kyung
Published : Nov. 8, 2023 - 11:32
Every November, a certain type of snack sees a sudden spike in sales: Pepero.
On Nov. 11, also known as Pepero Day, people exchange the chocolate-covered snacks.
It is not an official holiday, but is widely celebrated in South Korea, with street stalls, convenience stores and supermarkets stocked with a massive supply of Pepero or similarly shaped goodies.
The origin of this festivity is a modern marketing legend.
While Pepero has always been popular, its manufacturer, Lotte Confectionery, pushed it to new heights when it launched a marketing campaign in 1996, designating Nov. 11 as Pepero Day.
The association of the particular date with Pepero, according to urban myths online, came from middle-schoolers in Gyeongsang Province who first started wishing to become thin and long-legged by eating Pepero on Nov. 11 at 11:11 a.m. This is because the shape of Pepero resembles the numerals in the abbreviated form of the date and time -- 11/11.
Of course, hardly anyone believes that eating chocolate snacks would make anyone lose weight and the custom is widely enjoyed with lighthearted fun.
According to Lotte Confectionery, Pepero sales jumped some sevenfold following the launch of Pepero Day. The total value of Pepero sales from the snack’s launch in 1983 to 1995 came to 163 billion won ($124.7 million) compared with the corresponding figure of 1.1 trillion won between 1996 to September 2016.
Presently, nearly half of all Pepero sales are concentrated in November, the company says.
Pepero Day also spurs the consumption of sweets on the whole, with sales of jellies, candies and other chocolate products all soaring during the special week.
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