Petfood maker Freshpet selected Darling Agency of New York, USA, as its first agency of record.

Freshpet previously handled advertising in-house on a project basis, but will now dedicate a US$16 million budget toward television, print, digital and outdoor advertising. The first work will focus on the quality of Freshpet’s ingredients and will debut in April 2011, the company says.

“We are coming on board with this client at an unbelievable time. Freshpet has spent the last four years carefully laying the groundwork — in distribution, in product development that is absolutely revolutionary — and this year they are ready to take the market by storm. To join them now is an agency dream," said Jeroen Bours, founder and chief executive of Darling.