The history of Pepperidge Farms started when Margaret Rudkin discovered that her son was allergic to breads that contained artificial ingredients and preservatives. In 1937, Rudkin began to experiment by making bread that was free from preservatives. Eventually, she was able to create a preservative-free whole wheat bread for her son.
Encouraged by her son’s doctors, Rudkin began to sell her preservative-free breads and put up her ‘Pepperidge Farms’ business, named for the family farm. Because local consumers knew that her breads were all-natural and preservative-free, they patronized her business and bought every bread that she produced.
In 1947, Rudkin finally open her first modern bakery in the state of Connecticut. With the new bakery came new products that she created, including dinner rolls, oatmeal breads and stuffing. Not long after, Pepperidge Farms’ first television commercial came out, with Rudkin herself as the spokesperson.
In 1955, Pepperidge Farms launched its line of European-style cookies under the brands Bordeaux®, Brussels® and Geneva®. Pepperidge Farms began producing frozen products when it was able to acquire Black Horse Pastry Company, manufacturer of flaky and delicate frozen pastries.
In 1961, Pepperidge Farms was acquired by the Campbell Soup Company and was then considered a part of its parent company’s Baking and Snacks Division. A year after, Goldfish Crackers was introduced into the United States market by Pepperidge Farms. In 1963, Margaret Rudkin’s cookbook for Pepperidge Farm became a New York Times Bestseller.
In the 1970s, Pepperidge Farm’s bread was one of the food products that were aboard Apollo 13 and 14. In 1988, it was Goldfsh®’s turn to be brought outer space when it was carried aboard the Discovery Space Shuttle. Currently, the company’s Goldfish cracker product is a bestseller and a very popular snack food in the country. The product is patronized by young and old alike.
In 2001, Pepperidge Farms, Inc. ranked in the top two percentage of worldwide brands in terms of brand equity. Over the years and despite the major changes that the company underwent, Pepperidge Farms still continues to maintain its commitment to quality, a tradition that Margaret Rudkin herself started when she first baked her all-natural whole wheat bread.
Headquarters: Norwalk, Connecticut
Ownership Type: Private
No. of Employees: 2,399
Demography: baked consumer goods, snack foods