Brits are drinking more gin and almond milk, but have stopped smoking menthol cigarettes

Ginbogdanhoda/ShutterstockPeople are drinking more gin.

Gin, cycling helmets, and milk alternatives like almond milk are gaining popularity, while Brits are no longer smoking menthol cigarettes and favour cans instead of bottles when drinking cider, according to the latest changes to the Office for National Statistics’ basket of goods.

The ONS monitors the price of various goods and services — everything from milk to music downloads — to create a “virtual shopping basket” meant to typify the average Brits’ spending. 

Changes in price of those goods are then used to calculate the UK’s headline consumer price inflation figure.

The CPI basket also shows how times change, with goods added and removed depending on their popularity at any given time. The ONS released its latest changes to the basket on Tuesday, with the popularity of gin pushing it back into the CPI basket for the first time in 13 years, something that the ONS says is in part “thanks to the significant growth in the number of small gin producers,” which has driven up consumption.

“The value of the gin sold by manufacturers in the UK has almost doubled, from £126 million in 2009 to £239 million in 2015,” the ONS writes, citing figures from PRODCOM.

Several of the new additions to the basket are associated with so-called “hipsters,” the ONS says, writing: “The once-parodied trappings of hipster sub-culture — from well-groomed beards to a taste for the retro — appear to have become increasingly mainstream in the last few years.”

The full list of new additions includes: half chocolate-coated biscuits, non-dairy milk, flavoured water, gin, cans of cider, bottles of fruit-flavoured cider, men’s base layers, cycle helmets, cough liquid, kids’ scooters, and jigsaws.

While products are added every year, so too are they taken away, with menthol cigarettes, non-smart mobile phones, and children’s swings among the products removed in 2017, reflecting a decrease in their popularity.

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