Ice cream, cider and barbecue sales: These charts show the UK is finally learning to let its hair down in summer

Emma Haslett
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Ice cream sales have whipped up in the past few years (Source: Getty )

It's not often the words "Office for National Statistics" (ONS) and "ice cream" are used in the same sentence, but today the ONS quietly published incontrovertible proof that the UK has learned to loosen its stiff upper lip when the weather warms up - and it's partly to do with sales of lollies.

Yep - according to the ONS, UK consumers are putting on their shorts and letting their hair down, with the sales of summer-based products by UK manufacturers jumping in the past few years. Here's the proof:

1. Booze sales have jumped

Beer was the eighth-most popular product in terms of manufacturers' sales value last year, the ONS said, with sales increasing to £3.4bn. Meanwhile, sales of cider have increased 59 per cent since 2010, to £911.2m since 2014, and UK sparkling wine growing 105 per cent, to £6m.

2. Sales of barbecue products are sizzling

Sales of fresh cuts of meat have generally risen since 2008, said the ONS, with cuts of beef and veal such as steak valued at £3bn in 2014, that's 50 per cent more from 2008. Chicken sales are also up, by 48 per cent to £2bn. The only thing that's fallen? Sausages - the sales volume of which has dropped 26.4 per cent to 330.3kg. Maybe people just don't like that chargrilled flavour...

3. Ice cream sales are far from melting

Ice cream sales - which includes (frozen) lollies and other "edible ice products" have increased by £88.6m since 2013 and £157.3m since 2011. And after 2015's scorching July, chances are they'll have gone up again.

4. Sales of camping equipment have gone wild

Behold, the effect of the "staycation": since 2008, sales of camping accessories such as tent awnings and sleeping bags (and, obviously, suitcases) have jumped, with "suitcase and trunk" sales (trunks for the vintage-themed traveller) rising 115 per cent, tend and caravan awning sales rising 75 per cent and sleeping bag sales increasing almost fourfold.

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