High volumes of Mild Cheddar lead to 20-year low in prices Cheddar prices crash as supply exceeds demand Cheddar prices in the UK market have come under renewed pressure in the past month as available supplies exceed normal demand. From levels of about £2,300 per tonne for Mild cheese last September, prices had already dropped 24% by early April to about £1,750 per tonne. Market reports over the past two weeks indicate prices have now crashed by at least a further £100 per tonne to levels not seen in the UK since the 70s and 80s. The pressure of excess stocks results from the high levels of Cheddar made throughout 2001 and the early months of this year, both in the UK and Ireland. Continental imports are not part of the problem because UK prices are too low to be of any interest to German, French and Belgian Cheddar-makers and shipments have been falling away. While the main problems have been in the Mild sector, the Medium and Mature sectors are now also suffering, with stocks proving to be above normal levels. The current oversupply seems likely to continue while milk production is at or near its seasonal peak and cheese plants are working flat out. But, as milk output declines from about July onwards, it is probable milk will then be diverted away from Cheddar plants to be used for making butter and SMP where the EU intervention system provides a guaranteed minimum return. If this pendulum swings hard enough as the summer progresses then, perversely, supplies of young Mild Cheddar could tighten into the autumn and prices start to move up once again. {{CANNED GOODS }}