Alcopops are out, E-bikes are in: How we calculate inflation is changing

Inflation Alcopop bottles are pictured in an off licence shop in London April 19, 2009.  Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling will deliver the gloomiest budget in a generation on April 22, 2009 with borrowing at a record high and the economy shrinking at its fastest pace since World War Two. Photograph taken on April 19, 2009.   REUTERS/Luke MacGregor    (BRITAIN BUSINESS HEALTH)
Inflation: Alcopops out and frozen berries are in for cost of living measure. Photo: Luke MacGregor/Reuters

Alcopops and CDs have lost their place in the shopping basket used to measure UK inflation, making way for electric bikes and frozen berries.

Thousands of prices are collected to calculate the cost of living, with the so-called inflation basket containing more than 700 goods and services, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Non-chart CDs and digital compact cameras have disappeared from UK shopping lists in the past year.

Mike Hardie, the ONS deputy director of prices transformation, said: “The impact of mobile phone technology continues to resonate with the removal of CDs and digital cameras from our basket, reflecting how most of us listen to music and take pictures straight from our phones these days.”

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The ONS said the inclusion of e-bikes, home security cameras and frozen berries, used to make fruit smoothies, reflected heightened environmental awareness, a bigger range of products such as doorbell cameras to protect property, and the increased popularity of smoothies.

"With many people looking to reduce their impact on the environment, we have also introduced e-bikes, whose popularity has risen significantly in recent years,” Hardie added.

In total, 26 items were added, 16 items lost their place, and 717 remained unchanged.

The ONS said the removal of alcopops was, in part, the result of restaurants, cafes and pubs being over-represented.

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Myron Jobson, personal finance analyst at Interactive Investor, said: "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 is not an exact science, and its variety should remind us that the experiences of the rising cost of living is unique to each individual."

The inflation basket is updated once a year to take account of the changing tastes and habits of UK consumers and to ensure the official measure of the cost of living is as accurate as possible.

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