In the field of postharvest quality assessment of horticultural products, research on the development of non-destructive quality sensors, replacing destructive and often time consuming sensors, has spurred in the last decennium offering the possibility of taking repeated quality measures on the same product. Repeated measures analysis is gaining importance during recent years and several software packages offer a broad class of routines. A dataset dealing with the postharvest quality evolution of different tomato cultivars serves as practical example for the comparison and discussion of four different statistical model types. Starting from an analysis at each time point and an ordinary least squares regression model as standard and widely used methods, this contribution aims at comparing these two methods to a repeated measures analysis and a longitudinal mixed model. It is shown that the flexibility of such a mixed model, both towards the repeated measures design of the experiments as towards the large product variability inherent to these horticultural products, is an important advantage over classical techniques. This research shows that different conclusions could be drawn depending on which technique is used due to the basic assumptions of each model and which are not always fulfilled. The results further demonstrate the flexibility of the mixed model concept. Using a mixed model for repeated measures, the different sources of variability, being inter-tomato variability, intra-tomato variability and measurement error were characterized being of great benefit to the researcher. (C) 2003 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.