Pepperidge Farm: Healthful Bread Builds a Business

Margaret Rudkin posing for a television ad - Courtesy of the Fairfield Museum and History Center

It was at the height of the Great Depression, with her husband temporarily unable to work and the family finances strained, when Margaret Rudkin learned that additives found in processed foods might be exascerbating her son’s asthma. The Fairfield resident and mother of three immediately began poring through old recipe books to teach herself bread making. She used her kitchen coffee grinder to mill wheat from a nearby feed store and soon mastered the craft of baking delicious “all natural” loaves of bread.

Hoping to improve the health of others, as well as to supplement her family’s income, Rudkin began selling her bread at a local grocery store. She named her product after the 123-acre property on which she lived, Pepperidge Farm, and soon found commercial success in the burgeoning “health food” market. Rudkin went on to make Pepperidge Farm a household name, earning international acclaim for her business acumen along the way. She sold her brand to the Campbell Soup Company in 1961 for $28 million.

Learn More in Connecticut Explored Magazine

To learn more about Margaret Rudkin and the amazing rise of Pepperidge Farm, read Cathryn J. Prince’s article, “Pepperidge Farm: Healthful Bread Builds a Business” in Connecticut Explored magazine.

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