Hipster power sees gin added to ONS shopping basket

The popularity of gin among ‘hipsters’ has led to the spirit being added to the Office of National Statistic’s (ONS) inflation basket for the first time in 13 years, signalling its status as a shopping basket staple among Brits.

Gin has become increasingly popular among young people and ‘hipsters’ in recent years

It marks a return to the ‘basket’ for gin after more than a decade, with its addition spurred on by the spirit’s growing popularity and growth among young people and the so-called ‘hipster’ demographic.

“2016 became known as the Year of Gin and we have seen the quintessentially British spirit continue to fly off the supermarket shelves,” said chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, Miles Beale.

“It comes as no surprise to us that gin has become a regular feature on the UK shopping list and made it into the ONS typical basket. Last year gin sales both home and abroad smashed all records. We broke the £1 billion mark for the first time for sales in the UK and sold more British gin overseas than ever before, worth almost half a billion pounds.”

The basket is used to calculate the rate of inflation each year based on the most commonplace goods bought by consumers, offering an insight into the buying habits of Brits. This year’s ‘basket’ includes 713 items, including 16 additions, 11 retractions and 8 modifications.

Hipster power

Many of the new additions to the basket were attributed to the buying habits and influence of ‘hipsters’, with gin achieving significant growth among this demographic.

“What was considered a favourite of the middle-aged suburban couple, gin has become the staple of the younger drinker, which coincided with the growth in small gin producers,” the ONS said.

Non-dairy milk, such as soya, rice and oat milk have also been added to the ONS’s inflation basket for the first time, reflecting the increase in the popularity of dairy-free diets, and the rise of campaigns such as “Veganuary”, both trends associated with ‘hipster’ culture, the ONS said.

“A few years ago, those avoiding cow’s milk because of lactose intolerance or for ethical reasons were drinking soya, but there’s been a rising demand for alternative plant milk substitutes, including rice, hemp and – most popular – almond,” the ONS noted.

“‘Clean-eating’ hipsters love their almond milk, because it doesn’t come from animals and is healthy.”

Also making a return to the list after a 12-year absence are bicycle helmets, children’s scooters – which have replaced children’s swings – and council tax.

Martin Lane, managing editor of money.co.uk added: “The ONS’s shopping basket paints a picture of the nation’s habits so it’s no surprise gin has been added to it. There has been a huge increase in flavoured gins and trendy tonics hitting the supermarket shelves partly because I believe the tipple is one of the least calorific.

“The nation’s current obsession with exercise and eating right is further demonstrated in the fact bicycle helmets and non-dairy milks have also been added to the basket – more proof we’re choosing healthier lifestyles.”

On average, the changes to inflation are small and impact the consumer price index annual growth rate by less than 0.1%.

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