There were 516 mergers and acquisitions in the US food industry last year, 125 or 20% fewer than in 2000 and the lowest level tracked by the Elmwood Park, NJ-based Food Institute since 1993. Among the segments with the sharpest declines were restaurant and foodservice (down 30 to 61); packaging and equipment suppliers (down 24 to 28); and food processing firms (down 26 to 146).