GoPros added to inflation basket but pork pies are out

Women’s exercise leggings and action cameras such as GoPros have been added to the basket of goods and services used to calculate inflation, while prepared mash potato returns to the list for the first time in 30 years, according to information from the Office for National Statistics (ONS)

The basket of goods helps measure the changing cost of products and services over time, updated annually to reflect consumer behaviour and showing the changing tastes and habits of the UK.

Dried mashed potato was off the menu decades ago, but prepared mash now takes its place. Other new food items added to the 2018 list include raspberries and quiche, but there is now no room for pork pies or edam cheese.

The ONS says that while pork pies are being removed as an individual item, they will still be covered by the wider product of a ‘meat-based snack’, which also embraces sausage rolls, mini Cornish pasties and scotch eggs, to ensure that it can collect prices for this kind of snack in shops where pork pies themselves are not available.

With more and more soft play areas opening across the UK, adult-supervised soft play sessions have been introduced to the basket for the first time. Children’s sit and ride toys replace the child's tricycle, whose coverage has been falling reflecting its availability in shops.

The rise of the smartphone means digital camcorders no longer feature in the basket, while digital media players such as Chromecast and Apple TV have replaced digital TV recorders and receivers such as Freeview boxes. The addition of action cameras this year reflects the growing popularity of these devices.

Nightclubs across the UK have been closing over recent years and the basket of goods reflects this. The ‘bottle of lager in a nightclub’ follows 2016’s removal of nightclub admissions out of the basket.

Other items added to the 2018 basket include body moisturising lotion, girls’ leggings and high chairs. Items removed include peaches and nectarines, leg waxing and ATM charges.

Philip Gooding, ONS senior statistician, 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.’

Consumer price inflation basket of goods and services: 2018 is here.

Report by Pat Sweet

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