One of the world’s largest food providers, OSI Group truly is the American dream come true. In 1909, German immigrant Otto Kolschowsky opened a local butcher shop to serve his community in West Chicago. Business grew, and within a decade had expanded into wholesale foods. 10 years later, growth continued and the operation was renamed Otto and Sons.
Otto and Sons remained a successful family business for decades. Then, Ray Kroc opened the first McDonald’s restaurant in 1955. Before opening the restaurant. Kroc made an agreement with Otto’s sons Arthur and Harry to be the first beef suppliers for the new restaurant. By the late 1960s, McDonald’s was a huge success, and Otto and Sons became one of the four primary suppliers of beef products to McDonalds.
Otto and Sons had become both a local provider and regional supplier, and became OSI Industries in 1975. That same year, Sheldon Lavin became a partner. The next few years saw both continued national and international growth with joint ventures into Germany and then Spain. With Lavin becoming CEO and Chairman of the Board in the early 1980’s, the business’ growth accelerated, a trend that continues today. OSI Group had sales of $6.1 billion in 2016 and was ranked #58 of Forbes largest private companies.
The company’s growth was dominated by international expansion and joint ventures in Eastern and Western Europe, Mexico, South America and the Pacific Rim in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. This expansion continued into India and Australia later in the 1990’s and 2000’s. OSI Group’s growth in the United States has also continued. A partnership agreement with Nation Pizza and Foods in 1994, the opening of a new processing plant in Chicago and the acquisition of an existing one in Oakland, Iowa that produced bacon, sausage and hot dogs added new products to OSI Group’s portfolio. Poultry processing began in 1996 and expanded in 2006 with the purchase of East Coast producer Amick Farms.
This decade has seen OSI Group continue to grow. While protein products are still their main source of income, forays into non-protein items continue with the opening of a salsa, beans and tofu processing plant in Riverside, CA. International expansion continues, also, with the addition of a beef production plant in Poland and joint ventures in the United Kingdom, Poland and Canada.
About OSI Group: www.forbes.com/companies/osi-group/