A Lot Has Changed For The OSI Group, But Tradition is Still At The Company’s Heart

The OSI Group is more than just an international food processing and meatpacking corporation, it is a prime example of how a company can start out as a small family-owned business and grow into one of the most highly respected industry leaders in its sector. The OSI Group has more than a century of success behind it, and even today it still operates under the same basic principles and values that its founder Otto Kolschowsky lived by when he started Otto Meat Market in 1909. It is this dedication to high quality, fair business practices, exceptional customer care, corporate responsibility, and of course, strong tradition, that has led the OSI Group to be a global leader in food distribution network sourcing.

Of course, a lot has changed from those early days in the Oak Park district on the west side of Chicago. Back then Otto was running a small butchers shop to support his family. He was a part of the large and highly active German immigrant community that had settled in the region. He was also the latest in a long line of Kolschowsky men who had practiced the age-old art of butchering. He had learned the trade from his father who had been taught by his father and so on back for eight generations. It was a good time to be a butcher in Chicago. The city was at that time known as “the meat market to the world” due to the large number of processing and packing plants and meat companies. Otto’s market was an overnight success and soon he had to expand to accommodate orders from housewives and restaurants alike. It seemed everyone wanted Otto’s meat on their table, and there was one customer that would soon help Otto & Sons grow into the international powerhouse that is today.

The time was the early 50’s and America was being overrun with burger stands, diners, and drive-ins. It seemed that the post-war culture had found its official food, and it was the hamburger. It was this craze, along with the relatively new concept of francization, that led to an even bigger craze than the burger, McDonald’s. The small company that had started out as a burger stand in southern California was now growing by leaps and bounds, and it seemed there was a new McDonalds popping up somewhere in the country every week. The demand for high-quality meat was overwhelming, and in each major region the company worked to find suppliers that could handle the need. In the upper mid-west, the choice was simple, Otto & Sons. It was a partnership that would change both companies and both industries forever.

Soon Otto & Sons was rebranding itself as OSI Industries and they were growing right alongside McDonald’s. Within a couple of decades, they were the exclusive provider for proteins to McDonald’s in North America, and were a primary supplier in many international markets. OSI expanded more and more and soon was rebranded again as the OSI Group. The latest incarnation has seen the company grow beyond being just a supplier to McDonald’s and into being a provider of high-quality meat and other protein products to food service networks around the world.

Today the OSI Group operates in 17 countries and runs more than 65 facilities employs more than 20,000 people. The company is on the fast track to another major expansion soon that will bring more major markets under its service area and will allow them to provide better support to even more food service networks. Yes, a lot has changed since Otto stood behind his counter in Chicago, but one thing remains the same. OSI is till the name to turn to for the best meat products to put on your table, and it always will be because the spirit of Otto is always there watching over every piece of meat that is processed.

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