Page last updated at 11:17 GMT, Monday, 23 March 2009

Chicken in the basket of UK goods

Basket of goods
The basket of goods is reviewed once every year, with some new additions

Rotisserie chicken, rose wine and portable video players have been added to a typical basket of goods used to calculate inflation.

Wine boxes, MP3 players and rentals from DVD hire shops have been removed to make way, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

The ONS updates its 650-strong basket of goods and services annually, to better reflect public spending habits.

The basket is used to calculate the Retail Prices Index inflation measure.

New technology

The changing trends in technology are reflected by the addition of Blu-ray discs - often called next generation DVDs - and the removal of MP3 players from the basket.

The way consumers order their home entertainment - from the internet rather than from a video shop - is also hinted at with the switch to online DVD rentals.

A Freeview TV receiver box has been added as a new item to show the increase in spending associated with the digital TV switchover.

Your personal rate of inflation depends on how you spend your money and may not match the official rate of inflation. Use the BBC's calculator to get a much more accurate picture of how inflation affects you

"Trends in consumer technology often impact on the inflation basket and this year is no exception," the ONS said.

Changing eating and drinking habits have also led to the addition of hot rotisserie chicken to the list, and the replacement of a large "party size" bottle of cider for smaller individual bottles. Large eggs have been replaced by free-range large eggs. Queues have developed in supermarkets for hot rotisserie chicken.

The ONS said rose wine was becoming increasingly popular with UK consumers, and has substituted the traditional wine box - added to the basket in 2006.

Why change?

The changes to the basket of goods - from which the ONS collects 120,000 prices each month to calculate inflation - will come into effect for the February price indexes to be published on 24 March.

The ONS said changes were made because spending on specific items had reached a level that meant they had to be included to represent typical consumer spending.

The majority of the items, which include food and fuel, were rarely changed. For example, little has been changed in the furnishings category this year except hardwood flooring added to show increased spending on alternatives to carpets.

Others were dropped because spending had fallen, or simply to make way for new items being included in the basket.

Graphic showing items added and removed from the inflation basket in the 1950s, 1970s and 2000s. Goods added in 1950s: mangle, camera film,  crisps, toilet paper, dance hall admissions. Goods removed: frozen cod fillet, candles, soap flakes,  swede, gown. Goods added 1970s: yoghurt, duvet, cassette recorder, dried mashed potato, electric plug. Goods removed: hake, prunes, overalls, bicycle tyres, shirts with loose collars. Goods added in 2000s: mobile phones, MP4 players, chicken nuggest, muffins, fruit smoothies. Goods removed: disposable razors, Top 40 singles, 35mm film, slippers, gin.

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