Quiche, yoga leggings, GoPro cameras added to ONS inflation basket
Ladies' exercise leggings, GoPro-style video cameras, fresh raspberries, quiche, pre-mashed potato and kids' soft play have all been added to the basket of goods used by the Office of National Statistics to calculate inflation in 2018.
The ONS uses shop prices of a 'typical' basket of goods in order to measure the changing cost of products and services each month. The contents of the basket are updated annually to reflect UK consumer behaviour and showing the changing tastes and habits, with other items added to the 2018 basket including body moisturising lotion and high chairs.
Edam cheese, peaches and nectarines, leg waxing, ATM charges and a 'bottle of lager in a nightclub' have all been dropped from the basket and in these days of healthier eating, pork pies have also been put back on the shelf, though the ONS will still cast it eye over the still popular 'meat-based snack', which includes pork pies, sausage rolls, mini Cornish pasties and scotch eggs.
Adult-supervised soft play sessions have been introduced to the basket for the first time, while children’s sit and ride toys replace tricycles as the latter is dropped due to reduced availability in shops.
Streaming devices such as Google's Chromecast and Apple TV have replaced digital TV recorders and Freeview boxes, while the ubiquity of smartphones pushes digital camcorders out of the basket, along with the additions of increasingly popular GoPro-style 'action cameras' this year.
A bottle of lager while out clubbing is not longer seen as typical spending due to the number of nightclubs that have shut across the UK over recent years, following the 2016 dropping of the price of admission to a club.
Commenting on the new items, senior statistician Philip Gooding said: “Every year we add new items to the basket to ensure that it reflects modern spending habits. We also update the weight each item has to ensure the overall inflation numbers reflect shoppers’ experiences of inflation.
“However, while we add and remove a number of items each year, the overall change is actually quite small. This year we changed 36 items out of a total basket of 714.”
Around 300 ONS price collectors across the country visit about 20,000 shops to see how the prices of these representative items change each monthly, as well as scouring the internet for various centralised prices, like the cost of air fares and mobile phone contracts.
To ensure that the items sampled and weight they each have closely reflect the spending habits of UK households, the ONS uses its own Living Costs and Food Survey, information from the national accounts and intelligence from private sector analysts.