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Air fryers and gin added to CSO basket of goods

Air fryers, gin and disposable vapes are among the items that have been added by the Central Statistics Office to the basket of goods and services that determine the annual rate of inflation.

But landline telephones, swiss rolls and digital cameras are among those that have been excluded, because they no longer play as significant a role in consumer spending here.

Every five years the CSO updates the notional basket of goods used to measure the Consumer Price Index.

The last revision took place in 2016, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic there was no update carried out in 2021.

This is because part of the changes are influenced by data gathered by the Household Budget Survey, but collection of this data was disrupted during the pandemic.

Among other food and drink items added into the new basket are milk and meat substitutes, rib-eye steak, spring onions and non-alcoholic beer.

The influence of technology is also evident, with wireless speakers and headphones, smart watches and air fryers added.

Some services have also been included, such as delivery charges, which take account of the increased use of online shopping and fast-food deliveries.

However, the changing nature of our society and our shopping habits is also evident in the list of items that have been removed from the basket.

Gone are admission fees to nightclubs, playschool fees and rail catering.

There are significant changes related to technology too, with the removal of e-readers, MP4 players, midi systems and photo printing.

Due to changes in people’s media consumption habits, newspaper ads are also no longer in the basket.

The CSO has also adjusted the weightings given to individual items in the basket.

For example, the weighting on spending in restaurants, cafes and on fast food has increased, but the weighting on pubs has fallen.

Also down is the weighting placed on rent and mortgage interest.

This does not meant that consumer spending on these items has fallen, the CSO says, but rather that as a percentage of the overall household expenditure it has.

The Consumer Prices Index is put together using data harvested by a team of price collectors, as well as CSO staff and transactions from supermarkets.

Overall, 612 individual items are included in the basket of goods and services that make up inflation.

The changing nature over the basket can provide interesting snapshots over time of the changing nature of Irish society.

For example, in 1975 “Vodka White” made its way into the basket of goods as the hot beef flavoured drink, Bovril, was removed.

In 1982, deep fat fryers were added, but black and white televisions were thrown out.

Also in that decade, foodstuffs such as grapefruit and doughnuts were added while fish fingers and semolina were removed.

Reflecting changes in entertainment patterns, Hi-Fis were added in 1982 but were out again in 1996.

Fast forward to 2016 and out went the fillet of plaice but in went hake, sweet potatoes and avocadoes.

In 2016 streaming services were also added.

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