TORONTO--The world’s largest producer of frozen French fries has called in PR counsel to help it make a stronger case for the nutritional value of its products.

McCain Foods has selected Weber Shandwick to handle the global assignment, which is understood to be worth upwards of $1m, following a competitive review. It is understood that the work spans North America, Europe and Asia.

The new brief does not affect McCain’s other agency relationships, and is instead thought to involve a focus on building stronger healthcare relationships.

“We selected Weber Shandwick for a defined strategic assignment to help our company assess opportunities related to our core potato product,” McCain Foods chief communications officer Susan Rogers told the Holmes Report.

“As a leader in the frozen potato market worldwide, we value Weber Shandwick’s global footprint and food expertise. We are glad to add them to our roster of communications resources for this assignment.”

The firm has already begun auditing perceptions of McCain Foods’ products in various markets. The privately-owned company rakes in net sales of around $6bn, and employs 19,000 people worldwide.

According to one source familiar with the situation, McCain wants to “knock down preconceived ideas” about its products’ health benefits. Two groups of advisors - a global health and wellness board, and a global scientific committee - currently guide the company’s work in nutrition, which include the ‘Better For You’ range of products.

Earlier this year, McCain also promoted Jennifer Garrett to the newly-created role of global nutrition director. Garrett describes her responsibilities as the “intersection between nutrition science, nutrition communication, nutrition marketing and nutrition outreach”, and has said that the company is committed to providing healthier options and protecting its products from “misinformation.”