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WHAT BRITS BUY

Craft beer, e-cigarettes, and melons are hot in the UK this year, according to statistics nerds

Demonstration of an e-cigarette at a vape store.
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
So hot right now.
  • Jason Karaian
By Jason Karaian

Global finance and economics editor

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

Kids these days, with their melons and headphones!

The UK’s statistics authority has announced the annual shuffle of its consumer price indexes, a wonky affair that nonetheless reflects the nation’s changing tastes. After all, if the typical shopping basket were never shuffled, the country’s inflation gauge would still measure hopelessly outdated items—like buggy whips or flip-phones—instead of the things Brits actually buy.

The annual comings and goings in the 700-item basket confer a form of official status to trends—if statisticians holed away in their office crunching numbers can see that people are buying more craft beer and e-cigarettes, then something must be up. In addition to those new vices, things like online music streaming and video-game subscription fees will be included in the consumer-price basket for the first time this year.

Finally, the inflation record will capture the shopping habits of all those small-batch IPA enthusiasts you see outside pubs, sipping and vaping as they shuffle Spotify playlists on their phones.

Other changes are less easily explained—melons and sweet potatoes are in, while yogurt drinks are out. Colored paints are in, white paint is out. Mobile phone cases and headphones are in, and it’s weird that it took this long. Fresh cut lilies are out, since the statistics agency says carnations—carnations!—are an acceptable stand-in for flower prices.

Most puzzling, perhaps, is the reintroduction of liver, which was out of the reference basket since 1999. That said, this recipe for peppered liver with sweet potato mash looks pretty tasty.

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