OBJECTIVE: To derive estimates of age-gender specific food availability, based on data collected at household level. DESIGN: Two alternative modelling approaches are described leading to linear and non-linear optimisation, respectively. The idea of penalised least squares is used for estimation of model parameters. The effect of household characteristics can be incorporated into both modelling approaches. SETTING: Household budget survey data from four European countries (Belgium, Greece, Norway and the United Kingdom), circa 1990.