The price of our basket of dairy items recorded its first fall since March, down 0.6% compared to ten weeks ago, following three consecutive rises. It is now 2.1% more expensive than at this time last year, though it is 5.5% cheaper than when the survey began on January 4, 2005.

Only one item changed in price from the previous basket. Own label mature Cheddar is now 1.8% less expensive than ten weeks ago, and at its lowest price since May 2005.

Cathedral City mature Cheddar did not change in price in the latest survey, but it is now 4.3% less expensive than at this time last year, and is at its cheapest price since the survey began almost two years ago.

It has not increased in price in our basket since July 2005, and the last increase in the price of own label mature Cheddar was in October 2005.

British Cheese Board secretary Nigel White said: "There is nothing I can see to explain why prices for mature Cheddar have dropped.

"All of the information I see tells me that prices have remained remarkably steady over the past year.

"Around 95-100,000 tonnes of Cheddar are imported into the UK every year, but I don't think there are any currency issues at the moment.

"We know that production in the UK is up a little, but stocks are under control and pretty well balanced.

"The milk price has held up pretty well as far as cheese makers are concerned, and in some cases milk supply has been a bit tight and people have had to adjust milk prices upwards."

Blue Stilton remained unchanged in the latest survey, but is now 7.7% more expensive than at this time last year.

Milk is now 3.1% more expensive than at this time last year, and eggs are 1% more costly.