ONS launches price comparison tool for household goods

Cucumbers, olive oil and hard cheese have increased most in price, according to the new interactive tool designed to help us better understand rising bills. 

We’ve all noticed that food and household goods have got more expensive, adding to the cost of living. But it’s not been easy to track these rises or see how individual items compare to one another. That’s where the new tool comes in. 

woman in red long sleeve shirt and black pants standing on white floor tiles

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) already collects, analyses and shares data on the UK’s economy, society and population. That data now drives the easy-to-use shopping prices comparison tool, enabling consumers to compare the average prices of more than 450 items in the so-called consumer prices inflation basket. 

The data shows that in the past 12 months 95% of all these items have increased in price. Yet it’s a surprise to see which have been most affected. The greatest rise is in the cost of a cucumber, up by a huge 52%. The average cost is now 84p each, compared to 55p last year. 

Olive oil is up by 49% (average £5.78 for a 500ml-1 litre bottle, compared to £3.87 last year). Hard cheese is up by 44% (£9.98 per kilo compared to £6.92). 

No wonder we’ve been feeling the pinch! Better understanding how these price rises compare will help us all to plan and budget household expenses. Though, of course, while the tool uses the latest available inflation indices, it cannot predict how such prices might change in future. 

The ONS tool is based on the most comprehensive measure of inflation for such items: the Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH). This incorporates the well-known Consumer Prices Index (CPI) but in addition includes costs associated with owning, maintaining and living in your own home – such as paying for new furniture or for a plumber or cleaner.  

To make it easier to interrogate the data, the tool lists items under a series of categories: food and drink, clothing and footwear, food and drink establishments, health, household items, recreation and culture, services, and transport, 

The tool will be updated every month to reflect the latest inflation data. It will also be refreshed every March to accommodate changes to the items studied in the inflation basket. 

Speaking of rising prices, communications regulator Ofcom recently warned that more than half of low-income households in the UK miss out on broadband deals that could save them £200 each year.

Photo by Viki Mohamad


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