The Food Services Giant You Never Knew: OSI Industries

The average American has eaten food processed by OSI Industries at least once in his life. The company has been around for over a hundred years and supplies food to hundreds of thousands of restaurants, but the average person may not even know it exists.

Otto Kolschowsky first opened his doors of his meat market and butcher shop in 1909. His initial success led him to entering the wholesale market and his sons and their successors have grown his little meat market into a huge, multinational corporation with sales of $6.1 billion in 2016.

Serendipity played a big role in the company’s early years when – prior to opening his first McDonald’s in 1955 in nearby Des Plaines, Illinois – Ray Kroc made an agreement with Otto & Sons to be his hamburger supplier. The strong relationship between Otto & Sons, now run by the sons of Otto Kolschowsky, and the fast-growing McDonald’s corporation fueled the company’s success and growth in the 20th century.

Otto & Sons evolved into OSI Industries over the decades, and has since added other huge multinational chains – such as Starbucks, Burger King and Subway – to its client list. Through joint venture partnerships and acquisitions, OSI Industries has expanded into the Asian and European markets and is now processing meat – and other foods – in plants around the world.

Both Otto & Sons and OSI Industries have long been pioneers of cutting-edge technology. Early adopters of flash-freezing food and cryogenic food processing enabled Otto & Sons to become McDonald’s primary meat supplier throughout the restaurant’s rapid expansion. OSI Industries has continued this focus on new technology, and has leveraged it to expand into non-meat products such as salsa, beans and vegetables. In addition, it recently opened two Culinary Innovation Centers to enhance its research and development (R&D), to drive the addition of OSI Industries food products and to develop new food-processing capabilities.

The company is currently focusing on how best to maintain the sustainability of the global supply chain and monitoring the environmental impacts of processing and transporting food around the world. And the world is taking note: recently acknowledging the company’s efforts with awards in both the United States and abroad for its environmental efforts.

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