The status of competitiveness for the two most important food and beverage manufacturing sector s (meat processing and beverage manufacturing) in 13 EU countries is analysed empirically, using 1995 - 2002 Eurostat data. After a review of earlier agribusiness competitiveness studies an industial competitiveness index is proposed as a composite measure for multidimensional economic performance, covering profitability, productivity and output growth. The index approach enables relative competitiveness comparisons across industries, countries and over time. The results show that during 1999 - 2002 as compared to 1995 - 1998 for both sectors overall competitiveness in real terms slightly increased. At the same time, overall competitiveness seems to also have converged slightly across countries, implying that sector performance has become more similar. However, the two country rankings differ considerable as do the change patterns during the analysed period.