Nestlé revamps PR support as protest looms

Food giant Nestlé is on the hunt for corporate and public affairs support as the company faces fresh scrutiny from pressure groups.

Food and drink: Nestlé revealed a rise in first-quarter profits
Food and drink: Nestlé revealed a rise in first-quarter profits

PRWeek has learned that the Switzerland-based multinational has held chemistry meetings with several agencies, with a view to asking a maximum of four to pitch.

Nestlé currently uses Fishburn Hedges, which took on the account from Weber Shandwick in 2009.

At the time, the brief was understood to be worth around £500,000 a year.

The chosen agency will handle Nestlé’s public affairs, corporate affairs, corporate responsibility and social media activities.

A Nestlé spokeswoman declined to comment on the pitch. She said: ‘We do not respond to speculation regarding any of our business activities. What we can say is that it is normal practice for us to review the status of all of our businesses and partners on an ongoing basis.’

The move to revamp its agency set-up comes as the company reveals a 7.2 per cent first-quarter jump in like-for-like sales, with analysts saying the growth was ahead of market expectations.

However, it has been reported that the growth has come from higher pricing rather than volume growth.

Earlier this month, Nestlé agreed to buy Pfizer’s baby food division for $11.85bn.

Following the deal, Nestlé faces a planned protest outside its Croydon HQ next month by campaign group Baby Milk Action.

The group is asking Nestlé to bring its baby food marketing practices in line with World Health Assembly standards after raising concerns over Nestlé’s targeting of health workers and parents.

According to a survey by GMI Poll, Nestlé is one of the most boycotted companies in the UK.

Previous protests against the company include Greenpeace activists dressed as orangutans invading Nestlé’s Croydon offices over claims that its KitKat range led to the deaths of the animal because Nestlé was using palm oil as a key ingredient.

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