OSI Industries: A 100 year commitment to quality

Described as one of the largest food providers in the world, after its 100 year history OSI Industries has 20,000 employees and 65 facilities in 17 countries around the world. Beginning in the early 20th century, Otto Kolschowsky emigrated to the United States from Germany, settling in Chicago, where he first started a retail meat market which he later branched out into wholesale meat sales. The company remained small for over 30 years until it joined hands with Ray Kroc, founder of the McDonald’s hamburger chain, and pledged to be the first supplier of fresh ground beef to McDonald’s restaurants. OSI Industries was then known as Otto & Sons and Otto was joined by sons Arthur and Harry, and it has grown from its origins as a small neighborhood enterprise to a leading multi-national food provider.

Otto & Sons become OSI Industries in 1975. That name change reflected the company’s growing strength and its development of advanced technological practices leading to its status as retailer-cum manufacturer. Banker Sheldon Lavin joined the company in 1975, and his knowledge and skill in capitalization and negotiation led the company in its growth as an international food supplier. Lavin is now Chairman and CEO. Since joining OSI Industries in the 1970s, Lavin has been targeting and sustaining the continued global expansion of the company. The company acquired Flagship Europe in December 2016 to increase its reach throughout the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe. It then purchased the former Tyson Foods plant in Chicago in 2017 to increase production for its North American customers. Its 65 facilities are spread throughout 17 countries, in North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia-Pacific.

The company’s current position as leading worldwide food provider resulted from expansions and joint ventures in Brazil, Austria, Mexico, Hungary, Poland, and the Pacific Rim, leading to strategic company growth in the late 1980s and early 1990s. A 1987 partnership with K&K Foods in Taiwan led to the development of OSI Asia-Pacific. As China began to enter the World Trade Organization (WTO), it became clear to company leadership that a new market for food products could be found in Asia. OSI Industries now has a strong foothold throughout Asia. The company’s history dates back over a century. Throughout its 100 years, the company has focused on providing exceptional client relations and advanced technological innovation, leading to an early recognition of growth opportunities. Once a small German butcher shop, the company has grown into one of the world’s leading food providers.

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