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Good Food News

Food costs a 13th of basket in 1862 | UK news | The Guardian

Modern shoppers pay one 13th as much for their groceries as those who lived 150 years ago, according to new research.
A shopper would have needed £1,254.17 in real terms to fill their weekly basket with food, drink and household items in 1862 - compared to just £93.95 today.

The analysis, published by The Grocer magazine, took 33 items such as a dozen eggs, hot chocolate, a loaf of bread, a toothbrush and a litre of sherry, and applied an average earnings measure of inflation to their 1862 prices.

The biggest percentage changes were seen in fruit with the cost of a pineapple, which cost £1.72 this week and sold for 5s in 1862, estimated to cost £149 in real terms to the 1862 shopper, according to The Grocer.

That means today's price is a fall of 8,553%, the magazine said. The price of 1kg of grapes had dropped 7,419% while a melon fell by 5,971%, according to the calculations.

The horrors of trade, technology and globalisation! How much happier we would be if we worked all week to be able to afford to buy a low food miles turnip to gnaw on...


I would have thought few people would have ever seen a pineapple in 1862, only very wealthy people like the editor of the Guardian and Polly Townbee.

Surely there's something dodgy about those stats. I would have said I spend at least 10% of my net income on food now, but I wouldn't have been spending over 100% on it back then. Which of course underlines your point - now I must be buying more food, or better food.

This appears to be a rather selective use of statistics. The web site "Measuring worth" ( http://www.measuringworth.com/ppoweruk/) gives the following:

£18.20 using the retail price index

£149.00 using average earnings

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