Hello, 2019: Our plan for the year
The start of a year, an empty canvas, wiping the slate clean. Slightly daunting, Yes. But also a chance to look at things with a fresh perspective. 2018 was a pretty crazy year for us, there was a lot of growth, a lot of working hard and a lot of making things happen that seemed wholly impossible. We went from working with small independents to big players such as Ocado, Compass (a foodservice company that caters everything from offices in Canary Wharf to hospitals), WHSmith, Whole Foods and more.
We battled with unrealistic ideas of pricing structures and losing one of our biggest customers but we also expanded our reach Nationwide and launched EIGHT new products (which in itself is pretty ridiculous). Our Super Squares were a venture into a new market which we were pretty unprepared for; we learnt A LOT about packaging and how difficult packaging can be, and we learnt that working with an external snack manufacturer really isn’t as easy and dreamy as it seems (‘the grass isn’t always greener on the other side’ has literally never been so relevant, and having our our manufacturing facility has never seemed so good).
But… we laughed everyday even if everything around us was going wrong, we built even more trust and belief in one another than we thought possible and throughout it all, still believed that whilst we may have chosen one of the most difficult products to produce and sell (there’s a reason everything has preservatives in it), we still 100% believe in what we are trying to do and know that more than ever, the shelves need fresh, real meals.
But back to 2019 and that empty canvas - we’re pretty excited by it. Being busy means ‘just doing’ rather than taking the time to think and plan, and ever since the onslaught of events over the last summer, it’s been a lot of doing and very little else (being a small, hands on team means that when we agree to a festival, it’s actually our co-founders, marketing manager and sales manager that get to spend the weekend in a tent before heading to the office again Monday morning). But we’re turning the tables for 2019, expanding our little team and prioritising planning. It’s all super exciting for us, and we can’t wait to share all the ins and outs with you over the year.
But first things first, we wanted to give you a little insight into what you can expect to hear from us over 2019. Online content and the daily struggle of people trying to shout the loudest is overwhelming on the best of days (we’re a team of ‘happy where there’s no signal’ types), so the last thing we want to be is ‘clutter’. We’re firm believers of making social media (and your inbox) your morning newspaper, filling it with things that get you excited, inspired and curious rather than annoyed and self conscious - with the amount of time we spend online, the content we expose ourselves to really does make all the difference to our mood and outlook. So we want to make sure we’re part of that process, rather than just posting for the sake of posting. This year there’ll be more behind the scenes, more stories from ourselves, and friends, and an honest narrative of how it is to run a business. There’s a tendency to make ‘startup life’ seem sparkly and fun (and maybe for some it is) but our reality is a windowless archway office and a lot of graft.
We started Pollen + Grace because we believe in the product we’re creating, not because we had pots of cash to play with, and quite honestly, the same still rings true today. So, 2019: real life, real business and maybe a little more ‘from the heart’ rambling like this (congrats if you made it this far) alongside lots of exciting news about new stockists, nationwide expansions and eco-friendly packaging. We’re also expecting TWO Pollen HQ babies in 2019 so there may be a baby photo or two thrown in for good measure (and is it too early to trademark ‘Little Pollen’ for the baby food range?).
“This year there’ll be more behind the scenes, more stories from ourselves, and friends, and an honest narrative of how it is to run a business”
That’s what you’ll be hearing from us, but what about elsewhere?
Whilst they’re definitely gimmicky, we love looking at the predictions for the year ahead! Here’s our round up of the best to come…
THE TOP 2019 TRENDS
WHAT WE’LL BE EATING
Sourdough, except we’ll be making it ourselves rather than popping to Gail’s
Foil pack dinners - the new traybake, ‘wrap it all in foil and bake’ meals
Sobriety - more so what we won’t be drinking for this one. Quitting alcohol for good is on the rise.
CBD, expect more CBD lattes and an onslaught of edibles from cookies and cakes to sweets and chocolate bars.
Seed butter, which if you make your own nut butter at home you may already know is a much cheaper alternative to most nut butters. Whilst pumpkin seeds are a little too bitter, sunflower seed butter is a great base for dressings.
‘Imperfect’ veg - as the fight against food waste continues, we’ll be seeing much more ‘wonky veg’ and food waste initiatives
Harissa, Dukkah and Ras El Hanout will be hitting our spice racks (if they’re not already there…). A very worthy addition in our opinion.
Our labels will get more complex: ahead of the 2020 mandatory change, companies will start to list the amount of ‘naturally occurring sugars’ (from fruit/carbs/dairy) separately from added sugars.
Less vitamins and supplements, more functional food. It turns out that supplements don’t actually need FDA approval and may not even contain the nutrients they say they do. Just one of the reasons people are stopping pill popping in favour of real-food sources.
Even more jackfruit. There was a lot of jackfruit in 2018, expect more in 2019.
More savoury snacks - as a nation we’re starting to opt for savoury over sweet when the 3pm cravings hit, with the ‘savoury snack market’ set to explode in 2019. Popular options are set to be faux-meat alternatives to beef jerky and savoury snack pots.
Canned wine - the answer to our ‘no glass allowed’ festival needs. We can now get Pornstar Martinis in a can, and apparently up market wine offerings will follow shortly.
Zero waste travel is on the rise meaning more conscious decisions along the way (digital plane tickets and bars of soap rather than plastic bottles)
WHERE WE’LL BE GOING
Turks & Caicos - the new Caribbean hotspot
Sulawesi, Indonesia is set to be ‘the new Bali’ e.g. Bali without the hoards of people… dreamy
Likewise, the Faroe Islands are set to rival Reykjavik - an archipelago of 18 mountainous islands plunging spectacularly to the sea, located halfway between Iceland and Scotland in the North Atlantic Ocean.
Not necessarily a destination but what we’ll be taking - Zero waste travel is on the rise meaning more conscious decisions along the way (digital plane tickets and bars of soap rather than plastic bottles)
Córdoba, Spain is the first city in the world to have 4 World Heritage sites, surpassing Paris and Rome. It’s a 2019 must-do for us.
‘The surprise trip’ - picking the dates, but not the location (as ‘holiday perfectionists, we’re absolutely not down for this one)
If Michelin stars are your draw, Cádiz in Southern Space is the new place to holiday
Israel has rocketed in popularity, on doubt thanks to the amazing food, but it’s time to explore beyond Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, instead heading for smaller towns including Lakiya and Negev
HOW WE’LL BE LIVING
The colour of 2019 is ‘living coral’. Expect all millennial pink restaurant decor to be coral by May.
(Finally) there’s menstruation innovation. Period-safe underwear is on the rise, thanks for the amazing THINX, and monthly subscription boxes are getting a millennial makeover (think Glossier, but tampons). Menstrual cups are also on the rise as an eco-friendly answer. Expect tech-centric innovation to dated industries to be a theme throughout 2019.
‘With purpose” - across all the trend reports we read, this phrase kept popping up. We’ll be exercising with purpose (a mindful approach rather than appearance led), decluttering our homes with purpose and eating with purpose. Basically, we’ll be paying attention to being present.
Plantbased skincare - already quite a big trend for 2018, there’ll be even more focus in 2019 on what we’re putting on our skin, with high end products getting a plantbased makeover too.
Gardening (if you have a garden)… It’s finally cool to have green fingers, with ‘grow your own’ set to be the trend for 2019. Based on how much better home grown tomatoes are than store bought, we can understand why.