|Type||Subsidiary of Campbell Soup Company|
|Headquarters||Norwalk, Connecticut, U.S.|
|Key people||Irene Britt
(Senior Vice President of Finance)
Pepperidge Farm is a commercial bakery in the U.S. 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. It is based in Norwalk, Connecticut. In 1961, it was acquired by Campbell Soup Company.
Its products include Milanos, and Nantucket cookies, Goldfish crackers, and varieties of bread. It distributes Tim Tams in the US, manufactured by another Campbell's subsidiary in Australia and also Pirouettes, made in Indonesia.
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. She approached the owner of a local grocery store to see if he would be willing to sell her "Pepperidge Farm" bread. After tasting a slice, he took all the loaves she had brought with her and placed an order for more. 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 II forced her to cut back production due to ingredient shortage. In 1947 Margaret opened a modern commercial bakery in Norwalk, Connecticut.
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 and became the first woman to serve on the board. 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.
There was a long-running series of commercials promoting Pepperidge Farm that ran on television for three decades starring radio actor Parker Fennelly as the spokesman, playing the role of the often nostalgic philosopher, starting in the late 1950s and lasting through the late 1980s. Fennelly died in 1988 at the age of 96. Several of the commercials he starred in played into the 1990s.
- Rudkin, Margaret (1963). The Margaret Rudkin Pepperidge Farm Cookbook. New York: Atheneum. OCLC 990147. Reprint: New York: Galahad Books, 1992. ISBN 9780883658000. OCLC 27690339.