Baking trays added to inflation basket as Great British Bake Off boosts sales

The nation’s love of cake has put baking trays into Britain’s inflation basket as the success of the Great British Bake Off boosts sales of the kitchen equipment.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said smart speakers have also been included in the goods and services basket as Amazon Echo and Google Home devices appear in more households.

However, envelopes, washing powder and hi-fis have all been stripped from the basket, which is used to calculate rises and falls in the prices of everyday items.

Phil Gooding, senior statistician at the ONS, said the changes reflect changing lifestyles.

“This year, there are changes relating to technology, the home, and how we contact one another,” he said.

Changes to the nation’s shopping basket
(PA Graphics)

“The introduction of smart speakers is one example of a relatively new product entering the basket. The addition of bakeware is, on the other hand, a nod to the resurgence of an item that has been in our lives for generations, but has seen its appeal renewed.

“Finally, while the postman’s round may be lighter due to fewer people using envelopes (one of the items removed this year), this also perhaps points to a reliance on email, instant messaging services and social media.”

The rising sales of baking equipment was put down to the success of TV cooking shows, earning the items a spot in the basket.

But the traditional pairing of tea and cake could be changing, with an increasing number of Britons swapping English Breakfast for a herbal brew.

Flavoured tea has been added to the coffee and tea category, reflecting both higher expenditure and more shelf space in shops.

Its increased popularity is another sign of a shift towards health and well-being in consumer habits, following the ONS’s decision last year to scrap pork pies from the index and add in women’s leggings.

Other additions to the list include popcorn and peanut butter, both chosen to widen the range of foods included in the basket.

The inclusion of peanut butter will also offset the importance of margarine in the oils and fats category, given the item’s recent price volatility.

What’s in the basket of goods and services and how has it changed over time? Scroll through 70 years of shopping history with our interactive timeline

— ONS (@ONS) March 11, 2019

The ONS has also split its monitoring of cola drinks into two, watching the prices of both regular and sugar-free versions to measure the impact of the Sugar Tax.

Meanwhile. in the home, crockery sets have been replaced by dinner plates to reflect the consumer tendency to buy dining items individually.

Similarly, the three-piece non-leather furniture suite has been supplanted by a single non-leather settee as more buyers opt for standalone pieces.

Complete dry dog food has been removed to make way for the more popular category of dog treats.

Children’s fiction books aimed at six- to 12-year-olds have been added to the basket in a bid to improve the coverage of books as a whole.