Here at Philly Homegrown, it’s our mission to highlight the best of the local food scene, big or small. We heard recently that Pepperidge Farms (headquartered just over the river in Camden, NJ) is doing some good, sustainable baking and so we sent our trusty intern Liz Shovlin to investigate. Here’s what she learned:
Pepperidge Farm began after a healthy alternative to over-processed, preservative-laden commercial breads was needed. Margaret Rudkin, founder of Pepperidge Farm, attempted to create a wholesome, delicious natural bread alternative to the commercially-produced breads her son could not tolerate; the excessive preservatives and artificial ingredients used in 1930s commercial breads caused Rudkin’s son great suffering. Due to his many allergies, Rudkin began to make all-natural stone ground whole wheat bread with vitamins and nutrients intact. To everyone’s surprise and disbelief, the bread was delicious and healthy. And so, a bakery was born.
Today, Pepperidge Farm has greatly expanded and moved to the Philadelphia region, further enhancing the region’s wholesome, natural options. In the Downingtown, PA factory, Pepperidge Farm produces many natural and whole-grain products—the factory also employs 350 local people. Staying true to the company’s original mantra, Pepperidge Farm still offers a variety of delicious, all-natural sliced breads—a welcomed treat in a wonderous world of white mystery slices. And 8 decades later, it’s only natural the company would think of new and wonderful variations of Rudkin’s old classic: several types of snack crackers are offered in the all-natural line, as well as a variety of whole-wheat products, including the lo-cal deli flat rounds.
In 1961 the American staple Campbell Soup Company acquired Pepperidge Farm. Headquartered in Camden, NJ, they’re but a stone’s throw away from the food-i-center of our tasty region. Campbell’s, too, offers several natural broth options, ranging from vegetable-broth to beef-broth.
As the Pepperidge and Campbell’s products are sold in most grocery stores in the area, it’s easy to fix an all-natural lunch while supporting a local company!