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South Korea sees run on 'Pokemon bread' stickers

By Kim Ji-woo & Kim Tae-gyu, UPI News Korea
South Korea sees run on 'Pokemon bread' stickers
“Pokemon bread,” a packaged pastry produced by South Korean food company SPC Samlip, has been massively popular for the stickers inside the package. Photo courtesy of SPC Samlip

SEOUL, April 5 (UPI) -- South Koreans are rushing to convenience stores to buy "Pokemon bread," a new food product that includes Pokemon stickers inside its packaging.

South Korean food company SPC Samlip said Tuesday that sales of the product, which includes seven types of pastries, is approaching the 10 million mark after its release in late February.

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Pokemon is a series of video games released in the late 1990s. It was also adapted into a widely popular animation series, movies and the world-famous spinoff game Pokemon Go.

Many South Korean Pokemon fans aim to collect a complete set of 159 Pokemon stickers, which may explain the high sales figures.

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However, SPC Samlip is struggling to meet the rising demand, causing complaints.

The stickers are being traded on the second-hand online market in South Korea, where the price for rare stickers surpasses $30. The retail price of a Pokemon bread is $1.20.

"When a new pastry product with no stickers is launched, its sales in the first week amount to around 250,000. By contrast, Pokemon bread sold some 1.5 million a week," an SPC Samlip official told UPI News Korea.

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Adding fuel to the craze, RM, the leader of K-pop sensation BTS, is known to be a dedicated fan of Pokemon stickers.

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RM uploaded a photo of three Pokemon pastries to his Instagram story last month, urging SPC Samlip to sell more. The rapper noted that he visited eight convenience stores to buy the products.

"Pokemon bread is winning the hearts and minds of consumers in their late 20s and early 30s, as they were big fans of Pokemon when it launched 25 years ago. For example, RM is 27 years old," Inha University Professor Lee Eun-hee said in a phone interview.

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"Things are difficult for Korean youth due to the rising youth unemployment rate and the COVID-19 pandemic. In this climate, it seems that many of them are clinging to Pokemon stickers to forget about their hardships," she said.

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