Pepperidge Farm is an American commercial bakery founded in 1937 by Margaret Rudkin, who named the brand after her family's property in Fairfield, Connecticut, which in turn was named for the pepperidge tree, Nyssa sylvatica. A subsidiary of the Campbell Soup Company, it is based in Norwalk, Connecticut.
|Subsidiary of Campbell Soup Company|
|Headquarters||Norwalk, Connecticut, U.S.|
(Senior Vice President of Finance)
|Parent||Campbell Soup Company|
Margaret Rudkin began baking bread in 1937 for her youngest son Mark who had asthma and was allergic to most commercially processed foods. She home-baked bread that her allergic son could eat. Her son's doctor recommended it to his other patients and encouraged her to bake more bread. Her first commercial sale was to her local grocer in Fairfield, Mercurio’s Market. Margaret's husband Henry, a Wall Street broker, began taking loaves of bread with him to New York to be sold in specialty stores. She soon moved the growing business out of her kitchen and into her garage, then into a factory in 1940. Rationing during World War Two forced her to cut back production due to the restricted availability of quality ingredients. In 1947, Margaret opened a modern commercial bakery in Norwalk, Connecticut, and soon after added plants in Illinois and Pennsylvania.
On a trip to Europe in the 1950s, Rudkin discovered fancy chocolate cookies that she believed would be popular in the United States. She bought the rights to produce and sell them, and the Distinctive Cookies line was born. Under her management, Pepperidge Farm continued to expand into other products, including frozen pastry items and, later, the Goldfish snack cracker from Switzerland. In 1961, she sold the business to the Campbell Soup Company for 28 million dollars and became the first woman to serve on its board of directors. She drew on her knowledge and experience to write The Margaret Rudkin Pepperidge Farm Cookbook in 1963, which was the first cookbook ever to make the New York Times Best Seller list.
Pepperidge Farm products include Goldfish crackers, varieties of bread, and several lines of cookies. Their cookies are separated into two lines, the Distinctive line and the Farmhouse line. Each type of cookie from the "Distinctive" line is named for a European city such as the Milano cookie or the Brussels cookie. The Distinctives cannot be readily replicated by home bakers. In contrast, the Farmhouse line emphasizes commonplace cookies like chocolate chip and shortbread types that anyone could bake for themselves in an ordinary home kitchen.
- Monagan, C.A. (2006). CT Icons: 50 Symbols of the Nutmeg State. Globe Pequot Press. p. 48. ISBN 9780762735488. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
- "A Broke Connecticut Housewife Founds Pepperidge Farm". New England Historical Society. Retrieved March 7, 2019.
- Uyehara, Mari (February 21, 2019). "The Remarkable Life of Margaret Rudkin, Founder of Pepperidge Farm". Retrieved March 7, 2019.
- Rudkin, Margaret (1963). The Margaret Rudkin Pepperidge Farm Cookbook. New York: Atheneum. OCLC 990147. Reprint: New York: Galahad Books, 1992. ISBN 9780883658000. OCLC 27690339.
- "Pepperidge Farm Celebrates 70th Anniversary by Helping Restore Famous Grist Mill From Its Past". Business Wire. April 19, 2007. Retrieved March 7, 2019.
- Simonson, Alex; Schmitt, Bernd H. (1997-08-30). Marketing Aesthetics: The Strategic Management of Brands, Identity, and Image. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 9780684867502.