The basket of goods began life in 1947, as a sample of everyday items1 that could be used to measure changes in the prices of goods and services. This was – and still is – used by us to help calculate consumer price inflation.
UK consumers’ shopping habits have evolved over time, so the goods and services in the basket have also changed to ensure it remained representative. The range of products bought by households has grown too, and so has the basket – from around 150 goods and services in 1947 to over 700 today.
Not only is the basket vital for calculating the best possible measure of inflation, it’s also an intriguing reflection of the nation’s changing culture, as well as technological improvements. After all, how many people had heard of music streaming subscriptions and e-cigarettes just a few years ago?
It’s worth noting that while some fashionable (or unfashionable – such as corsets, boiled sweets, corned beef and Chicken Kiev) items change each year, many staple household goods and services have been in the basket for a very long time. Bacon, milk, bread, tea and petrol, for instance, made the inaugural basket back in 1947 – while diesel has been there since 1987.
Below is a selection of the most interesting ins and outs this year – are some more of a surprise than others?
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