From a Retail Meat Shop to a Global Food Provider – The History of OSI Industries

From a Retail Meat Shop to a Global Food Provider – The History of OSI Industries

The year 2018 marked the 108th anniversary for the OSI Industries. The company was founded in 1909 in Chicago and is currently headquartered in Aurora Illinois, with over 20,000 employees. With over a century in meat processing, the industry is among the leading players in the food service and retail sector globally. But despite its worldwide dominance in food provision, the company’s history is worth reading – from a butcher shop to its present status.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the number of immigrants from German was expanding in Chicago. One of these immigrants was Otto Kolschowsky who took advantage of the city’s status as the heart of America’s industries. In 1909, he started a butcher shop which served the growing population by supplying retail meat. As the First World War subsided, he grew his business into a wholesale. The next decade saw growth of the company, later on, rebranding to Otto & Sons. Like many small local businesses, the family business remained stable even after world war two.

Towards the middle of the 20th century, the now OSI Industries witnessed cutting edge success. First, McDonald’s (which had opened in 1940) hired contracted OSI with the supply of fresh meat. Then, the family business received a full contract to solely supply raw meat to the growing McDonald’s Corporation branches.

Even though the business had seen tremendous growth, it wasn’t until 1975 that Otto & Sons rebranded to OSI Industries. The transition was influenced by the need to brand the company’s services and the changing technology. Another aspect was the need to globalize the business, which saw changes in leadership – the current CEO Sheldon Lavin taking part in the company as a partner.

In the 1980’s, Lavin became OSI Industries CEO as the company needed a more structured leadership model to drive its international growth goal. After that, the firm opened international branches – starting with China, Australia, and India. The growth streak never stopped to date. In 2017, for instance, OSI purchased the Chicago-based Tyson Foods to serve the North America market. With Lavin as its CEO, the company has expanded into 17 countries with over 65 facilities. OSI Group acquires Baho Food

OSI Group Continues Global Growth and Innovation as a Top Food Processor

OSI Group has become one of the largest food processors in the world as they operate more than 60 facilities in 17 different countries. Their history spans more than a century and the company’s substantial growth is nothing short of extraordinary. Their ability to thrive in a globally connected business world provides a beacon for other companies seeking the same success.

The unique history of OSI Group began with Otto Kolschowsky who emigrated from Germany with hopes of success. He founded Otto & Sons which was a butcher shop and meat market serving the citizens of Chicago. They were successful in serving the local community with one location and thrived this way for many years.

The game changer for Otto & Sons was a handshake agreement with the legendary Ray Kroc of McDonald’s fame. They became the first supplier of fresh ground beef for this famous retail chain that was about to explode with growth. This key relationship was the impetus for the exponential success of both companies.

In 1973 Otto & Sons devoted an entire plant to McDonald’s and became one of only four suppliers for the entire chain in the United States. This state of the art facility was located in West Chicago and employed new technology to flash freeze hamburger patties. This process enabled frozen burgers to be transported to distant restaurants throughout the country.

Sheldon Lavin has been an important figure in the development of OSI Group. Lavin’s financial and accounting skills helped them secure needed capital for the new plant producing the aforementioned burgers. Their name changed from Otto & Sons to OSI in the mid-seventies as the business grew into other sectors in the food processing industry.

Today, OSI Group continues its successful patterns of growth and innovation. They have deep resources for culinary creation endeavors, sophisticated supply chain management techniques, and an enormous production capacity. Their steady growth under Sheldon Lavin’s leadership has landed them on the Forbes magazine’s list of largest private companies.

Global expansion in Europe and China has been notable in scope as these markets continue to grow for the company. Japan is yet another location where they’ve expanded as they opened a beef production facility in 2010. The Dutch company called Baho Food was also purchased in 2016 and made their European operations stronger and more capable.

OSI has opened two culinary innovation centers which help them develop tasty and unique food products. One is based in Aurora, Illinois near the company’s headquarters and the other is based in Shanghai, China.
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OSI Food Solutions received Globe of Honour award in 2016

OSI Food Solutions is a leading privately owned company that deals with meat processing, supplying and retail food brands industries. Currently, the company is spearheaded by David McDonald who also serves as the president of the company. OSI Food Solutions is a subsidiary of OSI Group. The company has continued to thrive in offering excellent services hence maintaining its dream of producing custom added value products with high-quality assurance. Though the company largely deals with protein foods, they also process vegetables and fruits regarding customer’s specifications and demand. Their large quantity caters for every meal including snacks, breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as appetizers and desserts.

In 2016, due to company great environmental caution, they were awarded the most prestigious award in the UK. The British Safety Council recognized OSI Food Solutions with Globe of Honour Award for observing management of environmental risks. The event was held at Drapers Hall during Awards luncheon, and it is a significant milestone to the company’s portfolio. The award signifies that OSI Food Solutions has observed excellence in environmental management and has achieved the five stars required by British Safety Council. The company has always demonstrated its environmental management skills and has previously won the Globe of Honour award in 2013 and 2015.

The company is listed among America’s top 100 food companies due to their constant growth, innovation and evolving business skills. OSI Food Solution also has a global buying power that helps the company to acquire various facilities across the globe and hence venture into multiple food markets. The company is also well known to maintain high standards and producing high-quality custom value-added foods. OSI Solutions is also recognized for its resources and financial capabilities which allow them to purchase an operating food company or create a new food processing plant without financial constraints. Equally, OSI Food Solutions is also known for creating jobs and currently has over 20,000 employees across the globe.

The company has continued to expand and grow tremendously business wise. In 2017, the company announced the recent expansion in Spain that will enable it to double their production. The company invested over € 17 million in creating a facility that is capable of producing 24,000 tons annually while previously they produced 12,000 tons. This is in response to meet the steady demand for chicken in Spain and Portugal. The facility has supply storage, refrigerated rooms and social hall for employees among other production areas.