This paper decomposes the variance in food industry return-on-assets into year, country, industry, and firm effects. Besides these main effects, we include several interactions and discuss their theoretical foundations. After determining effect significance in a nested ANOVA with a rotating pattern of effect introduction, we estimate effect magnitude using components of variance on a large sample of corporations. The results show that firm characteristics are far more important than industry structure in determining food industry profitability. Main effects and interactions of year and country membership are weak, indicating that performance differentials can poorly be explained by macroeconomic and trade theory.