Business Leaders

The OSI Group: Providing Quality Food For Over 100 Years

The OSI Group is a world leader when it comes to food processing and distribution. The company was started in Oak Park, Illinois in 1909 by German immigrant Otto Kolschowsky. Initially it was a neighborhood meat market that Kolschowsky and his sons ran. Today, the company has more than 20,000 employees and facilities throughout North, Central and South America, Europe, Asia and Australia. The former neighborhood meat market is now among the top 100 privately-owned American companies. Otto Kolschowsky had a reputation for offering the highest quality meat. The OSI Group continues that tradition and is universally praised for their nutritious, delicious food products.

Otto Kolschowsky began providing restaurants and supermarkets with wholesale meat in addition to serving individual customers. By 1928, the company had moved to Maywood, Illinois and was called Otto & Sons. Another major change came in 1955 when Otto & Sons began providing Ray Kroc with ground beef patties for his Des Plain, Illinois McDonald’s franchise. Within a few years Otto & Sons was making the biggest percentage of their income from McDonalds. Eventually the company acquired liquid nitrogen freezing and high-volume patty making technology and opened a large facility in West Chicago.

By 1975 Otto & Son was called OSI Industries and had created Glenmark, a division of the company focused on serving its growing customer base outside of McDonald’s. The company then sought the finances to expand. Financial services professional Sheldon Lain and his company secured the financing for them and he became a major investor. Lavin took over the company within a few years and created an ambitious plan to expand into the global food service market. He also implemented a series of environmental management and employee safety policies that proved to be very effective.

The OSI Group has been very successful. It has over 65 facilities in 17 countries. The company has recently expanded its presence in Europe by acquiring Baho Foods and Flagship Europe, two businesses with clients all over Europe. The OSI Group’s environmental management practices have resulted in the British Safety Council awarding them the 2016 Globe of Honor. They also won the award in 2013 and 2015.

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The company has also instituted policies that provides a wide range of excellent benefits for employees and their families. That has taken worker productivity to an all-time high and resulted in the OSI Group generating over $6 billion annually in revenues.OSI Group Acquires Flagship Europe.