OSI Group Celebrates 100 Years of Service

OSI Group is one of the largest meat processing companies in the world. From its humble turn of the century beginnings in Chicago, Illinois, the company has grown into a global powerhouse with 20,000 employees in 65 countries.

OSI Group is a true American success story. The company was founded by German immigrant Otto Kolschowsky in 1909. He was part of the booming immigrant community that settled in the thriving city. Within 2 years, his meat market and butcher shop was a huge success.

By the end of the First World War, his business expanded and he moved operations from Oak Park to Maywood.

By 1928, the business was re-branded as Otto & Sons. Success continued through the World War II. But now that the U.S. was on the cusp of an economic explosion, Otto & Sons’s fate was about to take an even more eventful turn.

Restaurateur Ray Kroc was on the verge of opening a restaurant called McDonald’s in Des Plaines, Illinois. He needed a company to supply meat, so he entered into a handshake agreement with Otto & Sons. A new alliance was formed. This agreement would turn two virtually obscure companies into powerhouses in the years to come.

As McDonald’s restaurants expanded, Otto & Sons became their sole supplier of fresh meat patties. Over the next few years, the company transitioned to OSI Global. The company was tasked with supplying McDonald’s restaurants with affordable meats on a consistent basis. The company also had a number of technological breakthroughs that made their job that much easier. Flash freezing with nitrogen was a cost-effective and quick way to process meats.

So with a mere handshake, The Kolschowsky brothers developed close company ties that led to OSI Group being the primary supplier of McDonald’s meats when the franchise went national.

By 1975, Sheldon Lavin joined OSI Group. Under his guidance, the company has expanded globally. They have also acquired a number of other companies. The company recently acquired Dutch company Baho Foods. Other expansions are also in the works.