Dairy products for Cunard cruise ships

Case Study

29 September 2017

Buyer for Carnival UK

Casey works in the food and beverage department of cruise company Carnival, filling the kitchens of huge cruise ships to feed the guests as they travel the world. The team buys everything from bread to lobster, branded alcohol and bespoke-made gin.

What do you do in your job?

I am responsible for buying the dairy items for P&O and Cunard cruise ships. That includes fresh milk, cheese, UHT yoghurts and cream. I look after the tender process to agree pricing and contracts, with the specifications that are agreed by our development chefs.


How did you get into this job?

I did work experience at BHS and Tesco headquarters, which showed me the large-scale buying world. My first buying job was for a Channel Islands supermarket company buying non-food products. I moved to be a buyer in the hotel department at Carnival UK – which looks after the guests’ accommodation needs – before taking this post.


What’s an average day like?

I check dairy market activity in Europe and globally, look at new opportunities to purchase from different producers. I source new products, talk with my supply base and deal with any issues. I plan the next tenders and strategy planning for it.

What skills do you need?

To be able to work well under pressure, negotiate, be an excellent communicator and organiser, and be able to quickly adapt and change.


What is the most unusual thing you have bought?

I’ve bought some unusual flavoured cheese and vegetable flavoured yoghurt.


What is the most difficult thing you have bought?

Butter. With prices increasing by 80% and low supply available, I have had to ensure we have contracts in place with stock available. It’s been challenging!

I did a buying and merchandising course
at the London Fashion Retail Academy,
which ran workshops with industry professionals
such as Sir Philip Green, which started my love for buying

What is the most interesting thing you have bought?

Alex James’s cheese. The bassist from Blur is now a cheese producer, I had to source his products to add as an offering on our cheese platters.


What advice would give someone who wants to do your job?

Keep up! The pace moves fast and emergencies happen all the time so be prepared to react.


Where next?

I would like to become a category manager with a team of senior buyers and buyers. I have just started my level 4 CIPS, and plan to get through to level 6 in the next four years.


Tell us something interesting about your company

We are a global company, but in our UK market alone, we have to feed 27,000 passengers and 10,100 crew a day across our fleet of 11 ships.

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