The food industry sector has seen major changes in the ways it needs to compete. Spain became linked to the European Community in the early 1970s by an adherence treaty which regulated food exports to the member countries. Subsequently, when Spain became a full European Community member in January 1986, both exports and imports to and from countries (Mediterranean or otherwise) became regulated. There had not previously been a tradition of trade links with most of these countries. After 10 years of full coexistence with the other European members, it is possible to test the effect of free circulation of goods, the major presence of community multinationals in the markets, the restructuring of the food industry sector, and the penetration of Spanish products in European markets. At present, the objectives of economic convergence contemplated in the Maastricht Treaty call for the control of macroeconomic variables (particularly inflation) which affect the food industry (by virtue of its special characteristics) far more than the remaining sectors because of its peculiarities. (JEL F10).