Two different headspace sampling techniques were compared for analysis of aroma volatiles from freshly produced and aged plain oatcakes. Solid phase microextraction (SPME) using a Carboxen-Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) fibre and entrainment on Tenax TA within an adsorbent tube were used for collection of volatiles. The effects of variation in the sampling method were also considered using SPME. The data obtained using both techniques were processed by multivariate statistical analysis (PCA). Both techniques showed similar capacities to discriminate between the samples at different ages. Discrimination between fresh and rancid samples could be made on the basis of changes in the relative abundances of 14-15 of the constituents in the volatile profiles. A significant effect on the detection level of volatile compounds was observed when samples were crushed and analysed by SPME-GC-MS, in comparison to undisturbed product. The applicability and cost effectiveness of both methods were considered. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.