Grocery Industry Pioneers Charted a Legacy of Integrity in Serving Grocery Shoppers

Washington, DCFMI—The Food Industry Association hosted a reunion this weekend of more than 20 former food retail consumer affairs professionals in Washington, D.C., and the group notably included six recipients of FMI’s Esther Peterson Award for Consumer Service. The reunion of these storied consumer affairs professionals illustrates the industry’s unwavering commitment to feeding families and enriching lives in the communities it serves.

Esther Peterson once said, “I want people to believe. I want them to care. I want them tomg-caption: Representing over six decades of leadership, food industry consumer affairs leaders gathers together. be curious. I want them to look at injustice and ask, ‘What can I do about that?’ I want them to know that they can certainly make a difference.” Leslie Sarasin, president and CEO, FMI, reflected on Peterson’s statement, saying, “The reunion of these professionals underscores the significant role each of them played throughout our history as purchasing agents for the consumer and as trusted resources on the most complex food industry issues that played out in the grocery aisles.” 

Just last year, FMI bestowed the Esther Peterson Award upon the entire food industry to recognize our industry’s resilience and commitment to keeping Americans fed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The gathering also comes at an important time as FMI marks its 45th anniversary. Looking back, among the pivotal accomplishments for FMI consumer affairs leadership was the support and creation of the Partnership for Food Safety Education, which works to educate consumers about important food safety best practices.

“In 1997, FMI signed on to a memorandum of understanding with the U.S. Departmentmg-caption: Consumer affairs leaders hear the latest grocery shopper trends insights. of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Education to form the Partnership for Food Safety Education,” shared Dagmar Farr, chief member relations officer and senior vice president, membership and education, FMI. “It was the consumer affairs professionals who recognized the need for enhanced food safety education and charged us with providing consumers more resources and practical food safety information for at-home kitchens. Today, the Partnership is an active network of 13,000 health and food safety educators supporting consumers.”

FMI’s Communications & Consumer Affairs Council remains a leading forum for communications and consumer affairs professionals to share information relevant to FMI priority issues; media trends or national stories; customer considerations; and national and state policy initiatives that impact public relations and brand reputation of the grocery industry. The Council is inclusive and comprises communications, community and consumer affairs, public affairs, public relations, digital and social media professionals in grocery retail.