Campbell Soup Company, Camden, N.J.., said it marked the 50th anniversary of its acquisition ofPepperidge Farmwith a $50,000 donation to the Christian Community Action and the Open Door Shelter in Norwalk, Conn., the city where Pepperidge Farm is headquartered; and the Food Bank of South Jersey.

Campbell said it acquired Pepperidge Farm in 1961 when its sales were $32 million and the company had 58 products in its portfolio. In fiscal 2010, officials said Pepperidge Farm had sales of approximately $1.3 billion and has almost 600 products.

Pepperidge Farm, Incorporated is a leading processor of fresh bakery products, cookies, crackers and frozen foods.  Among the company’s most popular products are “Sausalito” and “Milano” cookies, “Goldfish” crackers, “Baked Naturals” crackers, frozen Puff Pastry, frozen garlic loaves and Texas toasts, and more than 50 varieties of fresh baked breads including Pepperidge Farm® Swirl, Farmhouse and Whole Grain. The company addedEcce Panisgourmet artisan breads to its portfolio last year.

Officials said “Goldfish” crackers were originally a snack served to adults in bars and now the product is  the number two cheese cracker in the marketplace. Campbell Soup also estimates that 28 million people purchased “Milano” cookies last year. And they say Pepperidge Farm Swirl bread is the No. 1  sweet bread with a 40 percent share of the segment.

“The acquisition of Pepperidge Farm is a milestone in Campbell’s 140-year history," said Denise Morrison, Campbell’s chief operating officer. "It has proven to be one of the most strategic acquisitions our company has ever made. Pepperidge Farm has been an essential part of Campbell and a consistent growth engine over the last 50 years.

"Pepperidge Farm President Pat Callaghan and the entire Pepperidge Farm team provide Campbell with a steady stream of innovation, fantastic products and solid growth year in and year out," she continued. "To recognize their many contributions to Campbell, and also reflect our corporate commitment to the cause of hunger relief, we are pleased to provide a gift to the Norwalk and Camden communities in the name of all our employees.”

Campbell said it emphasizing its baking and snacking business, which includes Pepperidge Farm and Arnott’s in Australia. The Baking and Snacking segment currently accounts for approximately 25 percent of Campbell’s total annual sales and 20 percent of its annual profits. Growth opportunities in grain-based products are especially strong, as consumer demand for foods that are part of a healthy diet continues to rise.

“Over the years, the support and resources from Campbell have enabled Pepperidge Farm to grow its unique equities in a way that otherwise would not have been possible," said Callaghan. "Our founder, Margaret Rudkin, would be so pleased to see that great tasting grain products-which have always been the core of Pepperidge Farm-are now more relevant than ever.”

Campbell's said Pepperidge Farm was founded in Connecticut in 1937 by Margaret Rudkin, "an entrepreneurial homemaker who began baking fresh, all-natural bread for her allergy-afflicted son." The company is now a nationwide business with nine manufacturing facilities and almost 5,000 employees. Pepperidge Farm has been part of Campbell Soup Company since 1961.