Electronic noses, sophisticated sensors that create digital fingerprints of smells, are being used by an increasing number of industries for quality control and product development. Food manufacturers may now be about to follow suit. One of the most important objectives of food production is to achieve a uniform, high quality of both raw materials and the final product. A particular concern for fruit processors is the systematic determination of fruit ripeness under harvest and post-harvest conditions, because variability in ripeness is perceived by consumers as a lack of quality. Engineers have recently devised an "electronic nose" that will help both the fruit processors, and ordinary shoppers, solve the perennial problem of how to determine the ripeness of fruit consistently.