A selection of Marina's published articles

These articles have been published in the Economist, Standpoint Magazine, Financial Times, MoneyWeek, the Times Literary Supplement, New York Observer and more

Money Observer: Here’s what Brexit is doing to our diet

MIM salad

As we know, inflation is upon us, and it’s on an upward trend.

Once a month, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) determines the price of a basket – think of a shopping basket – of goods and services typically bought by UK households. This is used to calculate the consumer prices index measure of inflation.

I wanted to peek inside that basket of goods to see what was in it, so I sifted through a large ONS data set. How do they measure the price of, say, tea bags?

Instead of choosing one particular brand of brew, they calculate the average price across various makes of tea bag. For this purpose, they send out a group of people known as ‘the collectors’, who visit every shop in a certain area that sells tea bags.

Their task is to select an item they think best represents the store. Usually this is the item that takes up the most shelf space. This way, not only brands but unbranded goods are included, as are shops ranging from national chains to one-man bands.

Next, I looked at what has happened to the price of various foods since the Brexit vote in June 2016. Our tea bags have gone up in price from £1.93 to £1.98 per 250g on average.

But it’s the price rises among salad ingredients that stand out. Tomatoes have gone up from £2.01 a kilogram to £2.21. A cucumber has gone from £0.48 to £0.59 and a dull iceberg lettuce from £0.51 to £0.80. A kilo of grapes has gone from £3.80 to £4.19.

A lot of our five-a-day fruit and vegetables are imported from the EU, so this trend is likely to continue.

As we walk the aisles of the supermarket choosing the foods for our basket, we risk becoming poorer – and fatter – as a result of Brexit.

This column was published as part of Marina’s Imaginary Millions, Money Observer, May 2017

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This entry was posted on April 17, 2017 by in Finance, Marina's Imaginary Millions.

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In a crowded London shop
An open book and empty cup 

On the marble table-top.
While on the shop and street I gazed

My body of a sudden blazed;
And twenty minutes more or less It seemed, so great my happiness,

That I was blessed and could bless.

- Yeats

Always to shine,
to shine everywhere,
to the very deeps of the last days,
to shine—
and to hell with everything else!
That is my motto—
and the sun’s!

- Mayakovsky

Can it pull extraordinary faces?
Is it usually sick on a swing?
Does it spend all its time at the races,
or fiddling with pieces of string?
Has it views of its own about money?
Does it think patriotism enough?
Are its stories vulgar but funny?
O tell me the truth about love.

- WH Auden

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