Supermarket surveys 超市物价调查

Food idioms 英語學習點: 有關食品的成語

Image copyright BBC World Service

What's in your basket when you go to the supermarket? This question is food for thought for the British government when trying to calculate the rate of inflation.

Experts have cooked up a hypothetical shopping basket of food and household goods which are popular with the public. The total price of the basket is calculated, and if the overall cost at the till goes up, then so does retail inflation.

This method of calculating inflation began in 1947. Back then, post-war consumers were tucking into foods such as wild rabbit with turnip, and boiled sweets sold like hotcakes. But nowadays, these unfashionable foods are no longer our cup of tea, so they are not included in a typical basket of shopping any more.

Instead, Brits are going bananas for exotic fruits such as pineapple and continental soft cheese. Takeaway food is also on the menu, with chicken and chips proving extremely popular.

Nearly 700 different bread and butter items are compared year after year to help work out how much dough we're spending. Certain staples such as eggs, tea, bread and milk have remained in the basket since it began, whereas others come and go as our tastes change.

However, it's not only groceries which are included in the shopping-basket. The annual survey also gives us a flavour of popular household goods and services. Recently items such as tablet computers and smart phones have appeared, reflecting the general public's appetite for technology, as well as big-ticket items like cars and furniture.

The contents of a typical British basket change every year to reflect the public's spending habits, and the total bill for the items is calculated. And although tastes may change over time, one thing remains the same – if the price at the till goes up, it's always hard to stomach!