28 March, 2001

Shopping trolley de luxe

The Brits love Bollinger, favourite brand of James Bond and purveyor to the British court.

With champagne now making it into the official British price index, the French bubbly seems to be reaching the utmost imaginable democratization. Champagne has always been well loved in England. Historically even before the French themselves appreciated the bubbles and considered them rather as a production error.

On the latest shopping list of the British government - an official collection of prices used to calculate two annual price indexes, used to fix the interest of the Bank of England and to set the size of state pensions as well - champagne has replaced cheaper, sparkling wines such as the Italian prosecco, the Spanish cava and the French crémant.

The 26 newbies amongst all in all 650 products tell their own story about new times, new customs and maybe most of all new, rich middle class in good old England. MP 3-players and flatscreentelevisions appear on the list next to champagne, all for the first time. All the way back from the 1950'ies are Tupperware and canned fruits.

A bottle per grown up Brit
Last year the sales of champagne in Great Britain grew four percent to roughly 37 million bottles. This corresponds to a doubling in 10 years, and it sure makes the Brits stay in front as the biggest export market of Champagne.

The Spanish cava has trippled its sales in the same period, and it can be picked up in supermarkets at campaign prices from as little as three pounds per bottle, says daily The Independent. Normally the cheapest of champagnes do not go below 10 pounds. Even so champagne still has a market share in Great Britain as impressive as 40 procent. Compare this to Champagnes share of the global market of sparkling wines which is 15 percent.

According to several comments on the site of the BBC the inflation is getting artificial respiration, when you include products like MP 3-players and flatscreen televisions. Both very likely to become a lot cheaper fast, whereas the same thing can hardly be said about mortgages and petrol prices, which are not included. Champagne however hardly plays any role in that game since those prices are not likely to fall much. The difference between the British supermarket price and that of the vigneron in Champagne (8,8 pounds) is not big.

More about the British shopping habits and inflationrates at the website of the National Statistics.

På dansk

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