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Meat-free sausages in and doughnuts out of inflation ‘shopping basket’

by: Paloma Kubiak
  • 14/03/2022
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Doughnuts and men’s suits are out of the official list of products used to measure inflation, while meat-free sausages and anti-bacterial wipes are in.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) uses a basket of goods and services representing what people spend their money on to calculate the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) measure of inflation. It is reviewed annually.

This year it has removed coal ahead of the ban on the sale of domestic coal in 2023.

Philip Gooding, a CPI statistician at the ONS, said: “At times, items must be removed in response to changes in the law or in response to environmental issues.”

But some items are dropped “reflecting decreasing expenditure”, and doughnuts are out as “anecdotal evidence from retailers has indicated that sales have fallen, potentially because of the rise in homeworking”, the ONS noted.

Meanwhile, meat-free sausages have been added to the range of ‘free from’ products, reflecting the growth in vegetarianism and veganism.

And anti-bacterial surface wipes are now included amid the current pandemic cleaning trends.

The ONS said other new items have been added as consumer spending is “significant” or “growing”, such as with frozen Yorkshire puddings.

Pet collars are in, again as spending patterns revealed people are buying more pet accessories which is “linked to the rise in ownership since the start of the coronavirus pandemic”.

Climbing wall sessions have also been introduced, as have craft kits for adults.

Further, king-size beds are now preferred over doubles, while men’s suits have been replaced with a man’s formal jacket or blazer.

Gooding wrote: “A gradual fall in spending on men’s suits, together with the decision of a few retailers to withdraw this item from their outlets, has led to collection difficulties and a fall in the number of price quotes that can be collected.”

Overall in 2022, 19 items have been added to the CPI while 15 items have been removed. Further, 16 items have been modified in a total of 733 items included.

‘Cost-cutting trend’

Sarah Coles, senior personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “The pandemic may have changed how we live, and shop, forever. We’re continuing to embrace new passions in life we picked up during lockdowns, with the rise of pet ownership, cleaning and crafting. Meanwhile, working from home has precipitated the demise of men’s suits and the death of the doughnut. Next year, we can expect cost-cutting to dominate our shopping choices, and many of the changes in the basket.

“In 2022, the most dramatic trend is likely to be for cost cutting. According to the ONS more than half of us have cut back on non-essential spending so we can stay within our budgets, and 37% are shopping around more. We can expect this to feed into changes in the ONS basket next year, but in the interim we all need to think carefully about what we’re putting in our own baskets. One sensible option is to keep a receipt from a big shop, so you can compare how prices are rising each time you shop, and can trade down to own-brands or budget ranges where necessary.”

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