OSI Celebrates Century of Innovation

The OSI Group began in 1909 in Chicago when a German immigrant called Otto Kolschowsky opened a butcher shop, and retail meat market. He was successful, and at the end of the decade expanded into the wholesale meat business. He moved his operations to Maywood in Chicago.

The name changed to Otto & Sons in 1928. The company continued to be a thriving business after World War II. In 1955, a man named Ray Roc opened the first McDonald’s restaurant in Des Plaines, Illinois. Before it opened, they had a verbal agreement with Otto & Sons to supply the restaurant with meat locally.

As it grew, their company supplied all the local McDonald’s franchises that opened. Ray was a franchise dealer, and eventually became CEO of McDonald’s. OSI changed from a regional supplier to global supplier during this decade. The company had pressure on them to provide a consistent quality products that were affordable to consumers.

The new technology of flash freezing foods helped Otto & Sons with their business. When the McDonald’s chain consolidated their suppliers Otto & Sons became one of their four major meat suppliers. In 1973, OSI built a plant in West Chicago for manufacturing food product just for McDonald’s.

The plant had machinery for flash freezing hamburger technology. They supplied meats to local restaurants and stores and to the global market for McDonald’s . In 1975, they became OSI Industries. Sheldon Lavin joined the company in 1975 and had been an investment advisor to them for many years.

During the 1980’s OSI Group expanded their business with joint venture with established food companies in Brazil, Austria, Mexico, Hungary, Poland, and the Pacific Rim. In 1987, they established a joint venture with the K & K Foods company in Taiwain, and in 1990 a joint enterprise with China.

In the US the OSI Group partnered with National Pizza and Foods and opened a new plant that processed hotdogs, bacon, and sausage. In the early 2000’s, OSI began processing poultry products. They purchased Moy Park in the UK, Amick Farms in the US, and Weihai Poultry in China. In 2002, OSI expanded into fresh produce market.

Over the last several years, the company formed has joint ventures with companies in China and Europe. It has established a global trading platform in Europe for meat, poultry and other products. In 2016 they acquired Baho Food that is in the Netherlands and Creative Food Europe in the UK.

Today, OSI Group continues to focus on food safety, sustainability, providing a wide range of products worldwide, and developing new food products for the consumers and the wholesale market.

Learn More: www.forbes.com/companies/osi-group/

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