It’s tea, Jim... But not as we know it
Before reading any more of this post, I’d like you to close your eyes and picture something. No, not a beach, I’m not about to hypnotise you or lull you into a state of deep relaxation, whereby you can actually feel the sand beneath your toes and hear the gentle lapping of the waves as they kiss the glowing white coastline. It’s something much more prosaic and yet, from the right point of view, and in the right light, every bit as visually appealing. I want you to picture a builder.
That’s right, a builder. The kind of person likely to already know about skip hire in London. The kind of bloke (and be honest, you pictured a bloke because, while there certainly are female builders out there every bit as skilled and hard working as their male counterparts, the archetypal Great British Builder is still likely to be a bloke) who wears his jeans with a refreshingly casual attitude toward the proximity of the waistband and the mid-thigh, who now probably has a stubby pencil behind one ear and an e-cigarette behind the other and who is clutching in his hand nothing more or less than a cup of hot, sweet milky tea the same colour (and a not dissimilar consistency) as the bricks he’s spent the morning laying.
But, dear reader, you’d be wrong. Not only is the modern builder likely to be clad in state-of-the-art safety gear as he fills skip after skip but, in shocking news uncovered by a survey published recently, that mug he’s holding in his hand probably hasn’t got bog-standard British breakfast tea in it. The question then, is what exactly are those who toil in our construction industry drinking?
After all, if the workers are the foundation of the buildings they create, then the food and drink they shovel inside themselves provides the foundation from which they work. And if the time has passed whereby you could count the teabags left at the end of a working day and extrapolate from this the number of hours worked, what’s now fuelling our builders?
According to the survey, the sales of bog-standard builders’ tea has slumped in the last five years, with the most popular brands dropping from 97 million kg in sales in 2010 to just 76 million this year. According to the figures, the sales of green tea rose by 50% between 2012 and 2014, while the cash generated by fruit and herbal tea rocketed to a spectacular £76m, an increase of 31%.
Experts casting around for reasons behind this shift in the taste of our builders are in disagreement as to the exact cause. To some, it’s all about sugar and the fact that tea is traditionally seen as the perfect accompaniment to a cake or biscuit, snacks which are increasingly being shunned by those intent on staying healthy. Others, however, point to a more positive possible explanation – namely that our national palate is becoming more sophisticated, more adventurous and in need of something that little bit different, that speciality and fruit-laden teas tick all of these boxes, and that our builders are just as keen as everyone else to join in the zesty lemon and ginger flavoured fun.
While a switch from standard breakfast tea to something flavoured with cranberry, mint and spices or even the subtle blend of perfumes and taste that is Earl Grey, may mark a decisive break with tradition, it still represents a decision to sup tea, albeit of a more refined and recherché nature. What might come as even more of a shock to anyone presuming our van drivers, sparks, scaffolders and carpenters were naturally of a traditionalist bent of mind will be the revelation that 44% of construction workers have turned their back on tea altogether, favouring coffee, whether that means a skinny latte, a cappuccino or even an Americano.
So the next time you’ve got builders in doing some work and you feel moved to offer them a cuppa, just remember that there’s now a lot more than just ‘milk or sugar?’ to ask about. Here at ProSkips, we are unable to offer any further insight into green tea-sipping scaffolders or a skinny latte-swigging sparks. However, we can meet all your skip hire needs. Contact us today for more information.
Image credit: bohed