Carat, part of Aegis Media, will manage the group’s media buying and planning requirements across its entire portfolio including Ambrosia, Batchelors, Bisto, Hovis, Loyd Grossman, Mr. Kipling, Oxo and Sharwood’s.
The move follows Starcom resigning the business in September amid accusations Premier Foods had asked many of its 3,000 suppliers to pay substantial upfront fees to remain on its roster.
An SMG spokesman told Campaign that a request for what it described as an annual "investment payment" had been received from Premier Foods for the first time this summer.
However, a Premier Foods spokesperson stressed plans for the media review had been taking place for some time, and claimed Starcom’s resignation letter had only been received after the company had conveyed its intention to invite other agencies to pitch.
Gavin Darby, chief executive of Premier Foods, said: "I’m very excited about working with Carat. As we continue increasing our media investment, it’s important to be working with a partner that shares our passion for the brands and understands how to reach our consumers in increasingly innovative ways. I’m confident that Carat will help us get the best possible value for Premier Foods."