The aimed properties of the interpolation functions used in quantitative phase-field models for two-phase systems do not extend to multi-phase systems. Therefore, a new type of interpolation functions is introduced that has a zero slope at the equilibrium values of the non-conserved field variables representing the different phases and allows for a thermodynamically consistent interpolation of the free energies. The interpolation functions are applicable for multi-phase-field and multi-order-parameter representations and can be combined with existing quantitative approaches for alloys. A model for polycrystalline, multi-component and multi-phase systems is formulated using the new interpolation functions that accounts in a straightforward way for composition-dependent expressions of the bulk Gibbs energies and diffusion mobilities, and interfacial free energies and mobilities. The numerical accuracy of the approach is analyzed for coarsening and diffusion-controlled parabolic growth in Cu-Sn systems as a function of R/l, with R grain size and l diffuse interface width. (C) 2010 Acta Materialia Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.