This paper summarizes some recent advances in mathematical modeling of relevance in advanced quality monitoring in the food production chain. Using chemometrics-multivariate data analysis - it is illustrated how to tackle problems in food science more efficiently and, moreover, solve problems that could not otherwise be handled before. The different mathematical models are all exemplified by food related subjects to underline the generic use of the models within the food chain. Applications will be given from meat, storage, vegetable characterization, fish quality monitoring and industrial food processing, and will cover areas such as analysis of variance, monitoring and handling of sampling variation, calibration, exploration/data mining and hard modeling. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.