Wax Lyrical's hand sanitiser gel is considered a staple item

Meanwhile white chocolate melts away, as the annual review of items used to measure consumer inflation is published, reflecting changing habits brought about by Covid-19

The Office for National Statistics measures inflation by tracking prices for a ‘virtual shopping basket’ of hundreds of goods and services, designed to reflect consumers’ tastes and spending patterns. The impact of the pandemic on consumer habits is apparent in today’s announcement which also sees casual clothing and home exercise equipment added.

‘The pandemic has impacted on our behaviour as consumers, and this has been reflected in the 2021 inflation basket of goods,’ said Sam Beckett, ONS head of economic statistics. ‘The need for hygiene on the go has seen the addition of hand sanitiser, now a staple item for many of us.

‘Lockdown living has seen demand for home exercise equipment rise, while spending more time within our own four walls has also encouraged us to invest in smart technologies.’

Ground coffee also drops out of the basket, to be replaced by coffee sachets, while the staff restaurant sandwich is also removed as the number of work canteens fall.

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Statisticians said the aim had been to include items that would remain popular when Covid-19 had passed. They had decided against including face masks in the basket, but added hybrid and electric cars in anticipation of a longer term move to phase out petrol and diesel by 2030.

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