LONDON--Nestlé has drafted in Portland Commmunications for public relations counsel, amid continued scrutiny of the food giant's reputation in the country.

The company selected Nestlé following a pitch that began earlier this year, and eventually saw it part ways with three-year incumbent Fishburn Hedges. The business is estimated at as much as £500K per year.

A Nestlé spokesperson told the Holmes Report that Portland will provide a "broad spectrum" of public affairs, corporate communications and digital support.

"We are absolutely delighted to be working with one of the biggest FMCG companies in the world," added Portland public affairs partner Oliver Pauley. "Our work with Coca-Cola, McDonald's and AB InBev over several years gives us the experience to support Nestlé's corporate communications".

Nestlé has faced considerable opposition from NGOs and pressure groups in the UK, focusing on its baby food marketing practices, and its use of unsustainably sourced palm oil.

It has since revamped its palm oil supply in line with responsible sourcing guidelines. 

However, the company continues to face a long-running boycott led by UK group Baby Milk Action, which claims that its aggressive marketing of baby foods breaches international marketing standards.

Earlier this year, meanwhile, Nestle agreed to acquire Pfizer's baby food division in an $11.85bn deal.

The appointment is the latest in a string of complex assignments for Portland, which have included new contracts from BAA, Barclays, and the UN Population Fund. The firm was acquired by Omnicom Group earlier this year, following several years of rapid growth.