By Marcus Leach

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have revealed a new mix of products used to calculate UK inflation rate, including smart phones.

As well as smart phones joining the basket other items include phone applications, dating agency fees and oven-ready joints of meat.

Phone applications are replacing mobile phone downloads, such as ringtones and wallpaper. The new trends show how technology is changing the way people live, especially concerning dating agency fees, with online dating sites becoming increasingly popular.

“Many of these new items show the way technology is changing our lives,” ONS statistician Phil Gooding said.

“Powerful smart phones and the applications that run on them have become essential for many when communicating or seeking information. Likewise, increasing numbers of people now seek a partner via internet dating sites.’

In addition, television prices will now be collected differently, with the price of televisions bigger than 32” being measured separately. This is being introduced to reflect a change in the television market, with many households now setting up ‘home cinema’ systems.

Sparkling wines are also being added due to their increased consumption, showing that despite difficult economic times, people still want to enjoy themselves.

As new legislation is coming into force this year restricting the sale of cigarettes, vending machine cigarettes are now being removed from the basket.