Tyson Foods Inc.  and  Freshpet  today announced a partnership focused on bringing new and innovative, refrigerated fresh petfood products to consumers, with the goal to expand the refrigerated segment of the petfood category. 

Tyson will have a minority investment in Freshpet. The alliance will combine Tyson's fresh food knowledge, refrigerated distribution network, product innovation skills and supply of meat and poultry with Freshpet's petfood experience and market knowledge. 

"The alliance between Tyson and Freshpet will meet changing consumer needs by providing real food for pets - not 'petfood,'" said Scott Morris, Freshpet co-founder.  "We believe these products will redefine the category and change the way people think about feeding their pets."

The $17-billion petfood market has seen significant growth in recent years; one of the key growth trends has been the humanization of pets, as more consumers treat their pets as part of the family.