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A guide to 2015’s ‘UK Basket of Goods’

A guide to 2015’s ‘UK Basket of Goods’

This year has seen some interesting additions to the UK Basket of Goods – and the removal of some others. We look at what the ‘basket of goods’ entails.

Beginning in 1947, the UK Basket of Goods was created by the Office for National Statistics to calculate inflation. It is also used as a useful reflection of society’s changing buying habits, technological improvements and attitudes, with the basket being revised each year to represent what people in the UK are buying. 

With the inclusion of items like protein powder, e-cigarettes and sweet potato, it would seem the country is on something of a health kick. These additions indicate our good intentions of going to the gym, quitting smoking and eating healthier in 2015.

 

But is the basket truly an accurate representation of attitudes in modern day Britain?

Dr Steve Priddy, Head of Research at London School of Business and Finance, said “It is one more marker that seeks to compare and to measure purely in money-cost-price-percentage terms. The basket is silent on the waste linked to all of these goods, from packaging to landfill, lost food through to energy leakage.“

“We might ask what such a basket would look like in the 'circular economy’,” he added.

 

The basket also illustrates that we have relied on bacon, milk, bread, tea and petrol consistently since 1947. Representing our advancement in technology was the inclusion of online subscriptions to games consoles and music streaming services.

Commenting on this, Dr Priddy added, “To what extent can we imagine the basket de-materialising as the society of the internet increasingly pervades our day to day lives. And is it really dematerialising or simply being relocated to 'dirty places'?”

Some unfashionable items were also removed, with yoghurt drinks and sat navs both losing their place.

Chilled pizza ousted frozen pizza, whilst liver and melons became part of the basket.


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