The aim of the present paper is to summarise current and future applications of dietary assessment technologies in nutrition surveys in developed countries. It includes the discussion of key points and highlights of subsequent developments from a panel discussion to address strengths and weaknesses of traditional dietary assessment methods (food records, FFQ, 24 h recalls, diet history with interviewer-assisted data collection) v. new technology-based dietary assessment methods (web-based and mobile device applications). The panel discussion ‘Traditional methods v. new technologies: dilemmas for dietary assessment in population surveys’, was held at the 9th International Conference on Diet and Activity Methods (ICDAM9), Brisbane, September 2015. Despite respondent and researcher burden, traditional methods have been most commonly used in nutrition surveys. However, dietary assessment technologies offer potential advantages including faster data processing and better data quality. This is a fast-moving field and there is evidence of increasing demand for the use of new technologies amongst the general public and researchers. There is a need for research and investment to support efforts being made to facilitate the inclusion of new technologies for rapid, accurate and representative data.