A range of analytical techniques are employed in laboratories of the food processing industry and in the laboratory environment the staff must keep track of products, and the samples taken, as well as the test results. The data, which is acquired during analysis, is usually then controlled and managed centrally. This 'control' is usually carried out most effectively through a piece of laboratory software known as a LIMS (Laboratory Information Management System). The automation of techniques (and removal of manual procedures) simplifies the acquisition of data taken from samples of ingredients and intermediates during production of foods and beverages. This paper describes the Laboratory Information Management System that is playing an increasingly important role in the laboratories of food processing factories. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.