Wednesday 17 January 2018

Cauliflower and bacon are off the menu for iPad-loving Irish

Aideen Sheehan Consumer Correspondent

FRUIT smoothies and iPads are in, but DVD players and collars of bacon are out.

The basket of goods in the new consumer price index announced yesterday reflects changes to the way we live now.

Out go the things that we're buying less of -- from CD singles to cauliflower and fine wine -- and in come new items such as smart TVs, memory sticks and apartment maintenance charges.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) said it had adjusted what's in the 632-item basket of goods they price every month in order to make sure it was reflecting up-to-date spending habits when measuring the cost of living.

This process is carried out every five years using a detailed survey of household spending -- which they adjust for people's "notorious" tendency to underestimate what they spend on drink and cigarettes.

And while fresh berries are in, cooking apples are off the list of common purchases, probiotic drinks have replaced mere yoghurt ones, and fine wines and champagne are off the list, having slumped to 5pc of total wine purchases.

Some items like collar of bacon had become increasingly difficult for their nationwide team of pricers to find -- while others such as music downloads were increasingly popular.


In other cases they had made slight adjustments -- for example low fat milk has mainly taken over from full fat milk on Irish shopping lists so that's what will be priced in future.

Our disposable culture means TV repairs are no longer common enough to warrant inclusion -- consumers are now more likely to buy a new set than get an old one fixed.

The CSO's definition of a "small" TV has expanded from 24 to 26 inches, while a widescreen set is now considered "mid-range" and internet-enabled Smart TVs are the latest must-have, according to their analysis of shopping trends.

The changing face of Irish shopping habits is shown by a comparison between 1922 when we spent 57pc of our money on food (including meals out), and nowadays when that's down to 16pc, said CSO analyst Paul Crowley.

This also reveals that now we spend 62pc of our money on "sundries" whereas in 1922, the first year for which figures were available, that was just 13pc.

Meanwhile, the latest January inflation figures reveal that prices fell by 0.5pc in the month, thanks mainly to the winter sales pushing down clothes and furniture prices, as well as reductions in mortgage interest.

The annual rate of inflation also eased back to 2.2pc in January, down from 2.5pc in December.

Irish Independent

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