Despite a recent flurry of some big name food industry acquisitions, the first half of 2002 was a lackluster period for food business merger and acquisitions. The Elmwood Park, NJ-based Food Institute tracked just 219 mergers and acquisitions in the food industry during the H1 2002, down 26% from the same period in 2001 and 37% from the Q1 2000. Last year, 516 transactions took place, down from 641 in 2000 and down from 1998's record 813 deals.