The so-called ‘shopping basket’ is reviewed each year and items are added or removed according to their relevance in modern consumer society.

Also added for 2012 are cans of stout (to differentiate between other beers), pineapple and baby wipes.

Darren Morgan, from the ONS, said: “We already collect apples, pears, oranges, grapes, bananas etc, but exotic fruit is becoming more popular so we brought in pineapple to represent the consumers who purchase that.”

The basket traditionally keeps track of changing technological habits – smartphones and apps were added in 2011 and bundled communication packages, which include internet, phone and TV subscriptions, are in this year.

But the cost of developing and printing colour camera films has been removed due to the dominance of digital cameras.

Guilty pleasures in the form of takeaway chicken and chips are other additions to the 2012 list.

As well as being a sociological study, the basket has a direct relevance on everyday life.

Each month, the ONS records the prices of 180,000 items. It then calculates inflation on the basis of any month-on-month rise or fall in those products.

Inflation affects the level of state pensions and benefits and is used by the Bank of England to help monthly interest rate decisions.

There are two measures of inflation: CPI and RPI. CPI, which stands for Consumer Price Index, currently stands at 3.6%, a 14 month low but still some way above the Bank of England’s 2% target.

And RPI, Retail Price Index, which is a broader measure and includes house prices and council tax. It is typically higher than CPI and is currently at 3.9%.

Road tax, television licence fees and trade union subscriptions, which until now have only been used in the RPI calculation, will now be included in CPI.

Source: skynews

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