Interactive Investor

Sports bras and meat-free sausages: what’s new in the UK inflation ‘shopping basket’

14th March 2022 09:56

Myron Jobson from interactive investor

2022’s virtual ‘shopping basket’ additions are out of touch with the everyday expenditure of the masses, says interactive investor.

  • The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has today revealed the annual changes to the inflation basket of goods.
  • This ‘virtual basket’ contains over 700 carefully selected items representative of the goods and services that consumers typically spend their money on.
  • OUT: men’s suits, a single doughnut (among others) and coal. IN: meat-free sausages; canned pulses; sports bra/crop top.

Commenting, Myron Jobson, Senior Personal Finance Analyst, interactive investor, says: “Inflation data is not an exact science, but some of this year’s virtual ‘shopping basket’ additions are out of touch with the everyday expenditure of the masses. A climbing session, for example, a new addition to this year’s basket, is unlikely to rank highly on the list of spending priorities among those struggling to make ends meet amid the cost-of-living crisis.

“Official statistics dramatically underestimate the extent of real-world inflation amid the once-in-a-generation type hike in the cost of living. You only have to wander around any supermarket and look at how much fresh food has gone up in price, to see that official inflation figures don’t reflect reality. The Russia-Ukraine conflict has exacerbated matters, adding further pressure to the squeeze on household budgets.

“Our spending patterns continue to evolve and as the ONS basket of goods become ever more diverse, with the inclusion of products that some of us wouldn’t even dream of buying, it’s variety should remind us that the experiences of the rising cost of living is unique to each individual. We all have our own inflation number, and it is worth keeping tabs on your spending habits to get a better idea of the goods and services that are eating most into your budget, and where you could cut back.

“As with so many things, the pandemic forced changes to our expenditure, reflecting our changing behaviour in the periods of lockdown and beyond. The growth in vegetarianism and veganism has resulted in the addition of meat-free sausages and canned pulses in this year’s inflation basket. Sports bras/crop tops also make the cut, reflecting the increased levels of awareness of fitness and a rise in sportswear expenditure during the pandemic more broadly. Men’s suits and the humble doughnut are the more notable removals from this year’s basket. Who knows, in a few years’ time, crop tops could be viewed as being as outdated as leg warmers are today.”

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