The Dramatic Expansion Of OSI Industries Makes It A Food Industry Giant

OSI Industries is a world leader in food processing based in Aurora, Illinois. The company was founded 109 years ago and 30 miles away from its current location. Originally a community meat market called Otto & Sons, the company now has millions of customers, over $6 billion in revenue and food processing plants in 17 countries. It has also won numerous awards for the environmental management practices it employs. When German immigrant Otto Kolschowsky started the company in the suburbs of Chicago it had a staff of three. Today, OSI Industries has 20,000 employees in 85 countries.

Offering quality products is what has always set the company apart. Otto Kolschowsky offered fresh, high quality cuts of meats to the people in his community and soon local restaurants and supermarkets where coming to him for wholesale meats. Otto & Sons reputation for quality led Ray Kroc to turn to them to supply his fledgling McDonald’s franchise with ground beef when he opened his first store in 1955. As McDonald’s opened branches all over the country, Otto & Sons prospered and grew. In the 1960s they purchased flash-freezing technology and moved into a larger facility in West Chicago.

In the 1970s when Otto & Sons wanted to expand even more, they turned to financial services expert Sheldon Lavin for help. Lavin got them the resources they needed and started buying stock in the company. When Arthur and Harry Kolschowsky, the sons of the company’s founder, retired in the late 70s, Lavin owned enough stock to take over the company. He chose a new name, OSI Industries, and set the company on a path that led to it becoming a global leader in food processing. Today the company has food production facilities on 5 continents and is the 58th largest private company in the U.S.

OSI Industries has a major presence in Asia. In China alone it has 10 poultry processing facilities. It also has production facilities and millions of customers in India, Japan, Taiwan and the Philippines. The company also has a growing presence in Europe. It built facilities in Germany, Hungary, Poland and Spain and acquired UK based Flagship Europe and Baho Foods in Holland. That has given OSI Industries customers in over two dozen European countries. The company also has a presence in Australia, Brazil and Mexico and has facilities in Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin and California in the United States.

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