Reusable bottles and mugs added to ONS inflation basket

Reusable bottles and mugs have been included in the UK’s inflation basket for the first time amid evidence of a rise in sales driven by the desire of consumers to reduce their carbon footprint.

In its annual update of the list of goods and services included in the calculation of the cost of living, the Office for National Statistics said other new items were crumpets, self-tanning products, gluten-free cereals, vegetable crisps and minced turkey.

While there were signs of a drift towards healthier eating and a drop in the use of single-use plastic, the ONS said its changes also reflected Britain’s love of a drink. The 2020 basket includes “cocktails in a can” and sales of gin to reflect the growing popularity of speciality brands in pubs and bars.

The ONS said it was also broadening the range of computer games contained in the inflation basket to take account of three major platforms.

Items removed from the basket included individual fruit pies, frozen chicken pieces and frozen imported legs of lamb.

The ONS measures inflation by collecting the prices of 720 representative goods and services each month from 140 locations, from the internet and over the phone.

Each year the basket of goods and services and the weight given to each item is looked at to ensure the government’s yardstick for the cost of living accurately reflects how consumers are spending their money. Inflationis 1.8%, slightly below the government’s 2% target.

The ONS senior statistician Philip Gooding said: “This year we have added reusable bottles and mugs to the inflation basket, as there has been a rise in popularity with many consumers looking to decrease their environmental impacts.

“It is important to remember that these annual changes are only a small percentage of the overall basket. This year we’ve added 16 items, removed 14 and modified 4, while leaving 702 unchanged.”

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