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London (The Guardian) — The shadow cast by the cost of living crisis has spurred a retreat into small luxuries with Britons cheering themselves up with mood boosters such as luxury lip balms and false nails.

While the lipstick index is an established economic indicator Jonny Forsyth, an analyst at the market research firm Mintel makes the case for an “indulgence index”. He said consumers were also treating themselves to posh chocolate and coffee to enjoy at home.

In a recent poll nearly half of adults told Mintel it had been easier to justify eating indulgent food and drink since the Covid-19 pandemic and among chocolate fans 56% said eating premium bars “was a good way to boost your mood”.

“During Covid a lot of people thought consumers would eat more healthily but the reverse happened,” Forsyth said. “They indulged more because they felt psychologically under pressure and turned to comfort food.”

Now with energy bills and mortgage payments to worry about Forsyth said people were looking for something to give them a bit of a boost during the week. “Food and drink is still relatively affordable and gives a visceral sense of pleasure and escapism. We’re already seeing it and I think this trend will only increase through what will probably be a very dark winter,” he added.

Read more at theguardian.com