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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In recognition of Odonna Mathews' 33 years of distinguished service to the customers of Giant Food Inc., the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) here presented her with its the 2005 Esther Peterson Consumer Service Award.
Mathews, who retired earlier this year as the company's v.p. of consumer affairs, is the 13th recipient of the Peterson award, which was created in 1986 in honor of Esther Peterson, Mathews' predecessor, who pioneered the position of consumer adviser at Giant, and held the same post for Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Carter.
"Like Esther, Odonna served as a strong and steady voice of the consumer in the boardroom," said Tim Hammonds, FMI president and c.e.o., presenting the award at a ceremony this week. "She ensured that the consumer is always considered at the highest levels of decision-making."
"To the public," Hammonds continued, "she became the face of Giant food -- keenly aware of consumer needs. Perhaps most important, she became the company's ears, listening intently to customer concerns."
Long before the nation's focus on obesity and health, Mathews innovated numerous programs to educate consumers about fat, sugar, and cholesterol. Through labels, shelf tags, booklets and other means, she educated consumers about healthy products and diets. She ensured these programs were well informed through partnerships with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, National Cancer Institute and American Academy of Pediatrics.
In addition to Mathews, others to receive the Peterson award include Wegmans Food Markets s.v.p. of consumer affairs Mary Ellen Burris, Giant Food's late chairman Israel Cohen, and American Red Cross President Elizabeth Dole, to name a few.