In 2022, the typical English consumer is more likely to be a work-from-home vegetarian than in years past, at least according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Every year the ONS updates their shopping cart, a collection of about 700 commonly purchased items ranging from donuts to dish soap, used to track inflation. These changes are a snapshot of English consumer tastes and habits. The items being added or subtracted are “based on long-term trends,” an ONS spokesman said.
change eating habits
Canned beans, chickpeas and lentils as well as meatless sausages have made it into the shopping cart. According to an ONS spokesman, the supplements reflect the rise in vegetarian and vegan diets, which are being driven by both greater health and environmental concerns.
According to a survey by YouGov, a data analysis company, vegans make up around 2% to 3% of the population in England and vegetarians around 5% to 7%. The majority of British vegans are fairly new to the lifestyle, with 63% having abstained from animal products in just the last five years. For vegetarians, the statistic is 46%. Fast food chains like MC Donalds and Burger King have launched vegan burgers and nuggets in recent years. There was one too growing number of people who may not identify as vegan or vegetarian but participate in campaigns such as Veganuary encouraging people to go vegan in January, or Meatless assembly.
Working from home is changing eating habits
Individual donuts have been dropped from the basket due to declining sales linked to a surge in people working from home, according to the ONS. Stopping for a donut and coffee at a coffee shop before heading to the office is a scenario more likely in the pre-pandemic era. Likewise, men’s suits are out and sports bras are in, reflecting more casual workwear from home. Multipack donuts are still part of the shopping cart.
Changing consumption habits in times of high inflation
Inflation is at a three decades high, and food prices are no exception. Although the ONS decided what to remove and add to basket in autumn 2020 before prices had risen to where they are today, the addition of canned beans and legumes could also be a sign that budget-conscious shoppers are looking to trim their grocery bills. Jack Monroe, a food writer and advocate for those living in poverty, has long extolled the power of the pantry canned beans.
But Monroe has too criticized the ONS basket for being a blunt tool that disregards the poorest buyers. “Woke up this morning to the radio talking about another 5% increase in the cost of living. It makes me angry about the index they use for this calculation, which grossly underestimates the real cost of inflation as it happens to the lowest-cost people,” she said tweeted Jan. 19. In response, the ONS said the BBC That means it has “radical new plans” to change the way it tracks price changes.