Page last updated at 12:27 GMT, Monday, 15 March 2010

Inflation basket: Lip gloss added to 'typical shop'

What's in an out of the 2010 basket

Lip gloss and electrical hair straighteners have replaced lipstick and hair dryers in the typical basket of goods used to calculate inflation.

Blu-ray disc players as well as computer games and accessories have made their way into the basket, the Office for National Statistics said.

Disposable cameras and squash court hire have made way.

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

It collects about 180,000 separate price quotations of these items in 150 areas of the UK.

These are then used to calculate the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and Retail Price Index (RPI) measures of inflation.

Changing tastes

The shifting of goods and services in and out of the basket give an insight into the changing nature of shopping habits and new technology in the UK.

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For example, the 2010 basket sees the entrance of small bottles of mineral water that reflect the "on the go" drinks market. This has replaced the fizzy canned drink as consumers become more aware of a healthy diet.

Our personal health and eating habits are also a factor in the introduction of cereal bars and allergy tablets.

"Cans and jars of baby food have been removed since spending on these items is less than on powdered baby formula," the ONS said.

Eyesight tests, which are now free in some areas, have been taken out of the basket.

Changing technology is indicated with the introduction of computer games and a player of Blu-ray discs - a high definition DVD. With many people taking their photos on mobile phones or on digital cameras, the disposable camera makes way.

At home, household services maintenance policies, such as one taken out for a central heating system - enters the basket. The gas call-out charge has been removed.

In the bathroom, liquid soap has replaced individual bars of toilet soap.

Although the basket gives a snapshot of the UK's spending patterns, some items are in the basket merit inclusion in their own right - such as petrol - whereas others are representative of an area of spending - such as spades representing garden tools.

The system has been running for more than 50 years. In the 1950s, the mangle and dance hall admissions were put in, and mobile phones only made it in during the last decade.

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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