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Vin Sullivan marks 50 years of satisfying changing tastes.

A GWENT VALLEY specialist food company is celebrating 50 years in business.

Blaenavon-based Vin Sullivan Foods supplies hotels, restaurants and caterers throughout the UK with more than 6,000 items sourced from small producers across Europe The range of produce from the family-run business, which employs 17 and has a turnover of pounds 3.5m, includes Welsh farmhouse cheeses, Scottish smoked salmon, live Menai mussels, fresh Hampshire trout, Devon clotted cream and Spanish saffron.

The company sends produce to destinations such as the tip of Scotland, the Isles of Scilly, Galway in Ireland and even the Caribbean.

Managing director John Sullivan said: "The produce ordered by the company five decades ago was far simpler than today's, and included apples, potatoes, marrows, parsley and brown trout, reflecting the more seasonal and less exotic tastes of the time."

Vin Sullivan continues to experiment with new and exotic food, and has been a market leader in importing such produce from overseas.

In 1969, the company imported the first cooked meats from Poland and in 1975 brought the first maize-fed chickens from France. In 1989 the first ostrich arrived from South Africa and in 1990, crocodile from Australia.

Mr Sullivan said: "While some of these things have now become commonplace, in the mid-1970s maize-fed chicken was a radical new concept.

"The latest exotic meat to have captured the public imagination was bison from Canada, which we started importing in 2002. We aim to continue pioneering food sourcing, and aim to expand our portfolio of establishments significantly over the next 12 months."

Vin Sullivan also prides itself on forming long-lasting relationships with clients, including the 50-year link with the Angel Hotel in Abergavenny. Hotel general manager William Griffiths said: " Vin Sullivan is the perfect partner, supplying us with high-calibre produce, year-round." Mr Sullivan recently unearthed invoices to the Angel Hotel dating back to 1960.

CAPTION(S):

John Sullivan, managing director of Vin Sullivan Foods in Blaenavon, holding the 1960 invoice book, and William Griffiths, general manager of the Angel Hotel in Abergavenny, with a box of produce typical of that ordered 50 years ago when tastes were more seasonal and less exotic
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Aug 25, 2010
Words:357
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