Then and Now

Interesting, as always, to see the latest batch of data from the UKs Office of National Statistics (ONS). Apparently, back in 1957, food and clothing took up almost 50% of average household income, whereas nowadays it consumes just 25%. Astonishingly, cigarettes were the largest single item of expenditure in ’57, costing more than heating or transport. And get this, Sainsbury’s supermarket didn’t sell pasta until the 1970s and pasta wasn’t considered a staple for inclusion in the ONS’s average shopping basket data until 1987.

So overall, what has and hasn’t changed? The pace of chance does standout, with items appearing and disappearing from household spending with increasing pace. So too does the increasing cost of fuel, although the increasing cost of food doesn’t stand out quite as much as you might expect. Finally, our thirst for convenience doesn’t ever seem to change – unless you count our increasing appetite for saving a few seconds in a supermarket or the kitchen over ethical concerns or cost in some instances.

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