CalMac finding tea leaves passengers cold
It may be the cup that cheers, but it seems tea is no longer the hot beverage of choice for travellers with west coast ferry operator, CalMac.
Latest figures released by the company show that over the summer season it sold more than twice as many cups of coffee than the more traditional choice of hot drink.
The move away from tea in favour of mochas, espressos and cappuccinos is a reflection of wider changing tastes on board according to CalMac's, Head of Customer Sales, Kurt Hart.
'Good food adds to an enjoyable passenger experience. Our customers are very aware of the provenance of produce and we need to reflect this. We take pride that more than 80% of the fresh food served aboard comes from local suppliers,' he said.
'Many of our suppliers are from the islands we serve from Stornoway Black Pudding to Arran Ice Cream. All in all CalMac spends around £1 million with local suppliers annually.'
CalMac's fleet of 33 vessels runs 27 routes to west coast islands and remote mainland communities. Last year was a record breaking year for the company carrying nearly 5.5 million passengers and 1.3 million vehicles.
CalMac has VisitScotland's 'Taste Our Best' seal of approval for the quality of its on-board food and their commitment to serving Scottish produce.
'There is clearly a growing demand for healthier choices on board which we need to cater for, We now have falafel burgers and extensive vegetarian options which increasingly sell well,' said Kurt.
However, passengers' food palates are changing much more slowly than their taste for hot drinks. Over the summer CalMac fuelled up passengers with 45,000 cooked breakfasts, closely followed by fish and chips at 27,000 suppers and their legendary CalMac & Cheese with 17,000 portions served up to hungry passengers.
'There will always be a place for traditional fayre, it is our job to make sure it is of the highest quality, made with the freshest ingredients from traceable suppliers, it is what our customers rightly expect,' added Kurt.