Champion of the Old-Fashioned

IN the folklore of the U.S. food industry, mouths water and registers jingle when any product—from maple syrup to dog biscuits—is endowed with the nostalgic aura of the "old-fashioned." No one has better succeeded in transforming that folklore into fact than trim, green-eyed Margaret Rudkin, 62, founder and president of Pepperidge Farm Inc., the largest U.S. independent baking company. Maggie Rudkin—as she is styled in her company's homey TV ads—brought old-fashioned bread back to U.S. dinner tables in mass-production fashion, thereby baked her way into a $40-million-a-year business, which turns out 57 bakery products, employs 1,500 people in...

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