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OSI Industries: Recap Gazette Day Article

OSI Industries is a company that most people would not recognize the name of. Indeed, if you are not in the food service support and food packaging industry it’s very well possible that you would go your whole life without ever hearing of the company. Most people, however, are very familiar with the brands that OSI Industries does business with, most notably their biggest client, McDonald’s. What started out as a small butcher shop in Chicago has now grown to be the largest food service industry supply chain originator in the world. The OSI Group operates 65 facilities in 17 countries and employs more than 20,000 people directly and thousands more through its own upstream supply chain network or farmers, ranchers, and supply source contractors. They are not only the most significant players in this highly competitive sector, but they are also the biggest innovator in it as well.

The OSI Group of today has its roots in the tightly knit and booming German immigrant community of Chicago around the turn of the 20th century. The city was at that time known as the “Butchers to the World” and for good reason. The city of Chicago had a log and successful history with the cattle, pork, and poultry industries and was quickly developing one for the fish canning industry as well. OSI Group acquires Baho Food.

Otto Kolscowsky was a member of a family that had a long and proud tradition of butchering and he took advantage of that when he his own small meat market on the west side in the Oak Park neighborhood. Soon his attention to quality and customer care got him noticed by more and more customers, including those who were in the restaurant and hotel business. Otto knew, from his fathers teaching on good business, that it was time to expand and he did. Now his meat market was more than just a retail operation, it was also a bustling wholesale distributor of meats to those establishments that wanted to provide only the best for their patrons.

As the reputation of Otto’s operation (later to be known as Otto & Sons) grew, the company got recognized again, this time by McDonald’s, who were expanding their source network for beef products to keep up with the demands that America had for its favorite fast food burger. Starting out as a regional supplier much like many others in the McDonalds system, Otto & Sons soon took on more and more of the companies supply source needs, eventually becoming the sole supplier of meat products for McDonald’s in North America. It was a perfect marriage, McDonald’s was the name that America loved for fast food, and Otto & Sons was the source of the high-quality meat that the company needed. Together the two companies made history.

It was only after another important series of events, consolidations, diversification, and subsequently global expansion that the OSI group of today came into being. The process was long and at times arduous, but now the company has more than just one customer, although McDonald’s is still their largest and closest one. The OSI Industries of today supplied to hundreds of manufacturers and distributors that rely on it to provide the quality ingredients they need to give their customers the quality and performance they expect. The company has even expanded its operations in India to be the largest supplier of beef alternative and vegan choice proteins in the nation.

In summary, the company that started out as a small butcher shop has enjoyed more than a century of success to grow into a multi-billion dollar international food supply conglomerate that services the needs of countless end consumer outlets around the world. There is one thing that Otto would recognize, however, an attention to quality, and a concern for the end customer that has never wavered and is applied to every single item that carried the OSI Industries name.

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