Teenage fiction, tablet computers and stout beer have all been added to the typical basket of goods used by the Office for National statistics (ONS) to measure inflation, it was revealed today.
Each year the official statistics body adds and subtracts typical consumer items from the official basket based on volumes of sales, to try and give a fair template for an average shopping list for UK citizens.
A surge in handheld computing products, such as Apple’s iPad, over the last 12 months means tablet devices make it onto the list for the first time, and the popularity of teenage novels such as the Twilight series of books has meant that this product type also makes it into the basket.
Digital cameras are now ubiquitous across the UK, meaning developing and printing colour film has now been removed from the ONS list.
In food & drink cans of stout have been added to widen the coverage of beer, while pineapples, hot oat cereals and takeaway chicken & chips represent enough of the staple British diet to be included in the basket.
The basket is altered each year to ensure that its weight and contents stay up to date with current consumer spending, with any new item needing annual sales of £400 million to be added while existing goods which sales dropping below £100 million each year with be removed.
Prices of the chosen items are monitored by the ONS and used to produce the consumer price index (CPI) each month, the official measure of national inflation.
CPI dropped to its lowest level for 14 months in January, with the annual rise in the cost of living up just 3.6 per cent.