A retention index (RI) database containing 250 volatile compounds was created on a polar stationary phase column and validated for food aroma characterisation. Precision of the retention indices (RIs) was assessed by performing replicated injections of a representative number of volatiles under the same experimental conditions: differences lower than 1 U were observed for all the compounds. Robustness was evaluated by carrying out injections of the same set of volatile compounds under different experimental conditions, i. e. program temperature, column batches and instrumentation. Excellent results were obtained with a maximum difference in the RI values of 10 U. The capabilities of the created database for food aroma characterisation were finally evaluated by analysing the volatile fractions of different food matrices such as dry sausages, cheese and bread. A great number of volatile compounds were identified in the analysed samples on the basis of their RI, thus proving the usefulness of the RI collections in the field of food analysis.