Why do people use Freddos to measure inflation and the cost of living?

Why do people use Freddos to measure inflation and the cost of living?
Robert Peston explains how many Freddos you can buy today compared to …

Understanding inflation, the economy and the cost of living can be difficult.

Unless you have a background in maths or economics, comprehending how figures like today's announcement that inflation has fallen to 7.9 per cent will impact your personal finances can feel impossible.

And so, for years, those removed from banking bubbles have used their own technique to track rising prices of everyday goods.

I am talking, of course, about the Freddo index wherein people track the increased price of the chocolate to remark on just how quickly prices are rising.

When the bar was relaunched in the 1990s, it cost an affordable 10p. Things ticked along nicely until prices started to rise beyond belief. Prices vary depending on retailer, but online a single Freddo now costs 25p at Tesco. But last year it was reported a Freddo was found in WHSmith for a whopping 49p, if you can believe such daylight robbery.

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How to get Freddos at the price of 10p each again How to get Freddos at the price of 10p each again

People are really passionate about this rising cost. In 2017, a satirical news story claiming former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had promised to cap the price of the chocolate treats was shared 6,000 times.

But in fact, using the price of Freddos is not a good measure of inflation at all. Indeed, the price of chocolate has risen faster than the rate of inflation, with a Buzzfeed study previously finding that the price increases in Freddo bars rose by 200 per cent from 2000 to 2017, whereas general inflation had only seen prices rise 42 per cent.

It may not be scientific, then, but why do people use Freddos as a barometer for inflation?

Maybe it is to inject a bit of fun in a bleak news cycle.

Creative director at Kenland Media Relations, Emma Starrs, seems to think so. She says: "The frog branding is a cheery wrapper for depressing financial news. They’re a small treat we allow ourselves for calorie count/spend reasons. Mark Twain said: If it's your job to eat a frog, it's best to do it first thing in the morning. Same is true for swallowing bad news."

We've also contacted Freddo maker Mondelez to see what they make of it.

And if you want my take on it - here it is. If you don't - too bad. Freddos are probably the first thing a British child can remember buying. Your mum gives you 50p and you pootle down to the newsagent to get the best bang for your buck (or 50p).

So, Freddos become the first indicator of the value of money. From thereon out, as you get older and spend your money on less exciting things like 'council tax' or 'peas', Freddos act as a nostalgic anchor when you spot them in the supermarket and notice just how costly they are getting.

Or maybe the whole country just has a massive sweet tooth - you be the judge.

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