OSI Group

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OSI Group
Industry meat processor
Founded Chicago, United States (1909 (1909))
Headquarters Aurora, Illinois, United States
Key people
Sheldon Lavin (CEO)
Products Food
Number of employees
20,000 (2016)[1]
Website osigroup.com

OSI Group is an American privately owned holding company of meat processors that service the retail and food service industries with international headquarters in Aurora, Illinois.


In 1909, German immigrant Otto Kolschowsky opened a family meat market in Oak Park, Illinois two years after his arrival in the United States. In 1917, he expanded into the wholesale meat trade and relocated the business to nearby Maywood, another Chicago suburb. The company became known as Otto & Sons in 1928. Over several decades, Otto & Sons established a local reputation for offering quality meats.

In 1955, McDonald's, then a fledgling start-up with grand aspirations, opened its first store in Des Plaines, Illinois and chose Otto & Sons as the supplier of fresh ground beef patties. The deal was formalized with a handshake between Ray Kroc, the founder and CEO of McDonald's, and the sons of Otto Kolschowsky.[2] Kroc and the Kolschowsky heirs forged a strong personal relationship over the years. Supplying beef to local McDonald's restaurants very soon became Otto & Sons' main business. Cryogenic food processing, a method of preserving fresh food through liquid nitrogen freezing, emerged in the late 1960s to revolutionize the fast food industry. McDonald's was able to get consistent quality product from a few high-volume producers and therefore no longer needed to rely on its network of roughly 150-200 fresh beef suppliers. Otto & Sons accepted Kroc's offer to become one of McDonald's four meat suppliers.

In 1973, Otto & Sons opened its first high-volume meat plant in West Chicago with specially developed patty-forming machines and liquid nitrogen freezing tunnels. At the same time, it formed a separate unit called Glenmark (see note below), where it folded the non-McDonald's business. They were small local projects such as supplying specialty meats to area restaurants and processed meats to area supermarkets. In 1975, the company changed its name to OSI Industries. It served as an exclusive supplier to McDonald's, and grew in size and prosperity as McDonald's expanded geographically.[3]

In 1999, OSI entered into a licensing agreement with Best Chicago Meat Co., LLC for use of the Glenmark brand. In December 2011, the Glenmark brand was wholly acquired by Best Chicago Meat.[4]

In 2011, Forbes listed it as America's 136th largest private company, based on annual revenues of $3 billion.[5]

In July 2014, a factory of OSI Group in Shanghai, China was ordered to shut down production at that location by local government for allegedly selling out-of-date meat to international fastfood chains including McDonald's and KFC. A Shanghai television channel, which reported the original allegations, said that workers at the plant mixed expired meat with the fresh product and deliberately misled quality inspectors from McDonald's.[6] This report was classified as a "falsified exposé" by the Huffington Post.[7]

In 2016, OSI was #58 on the Forbes list of largest private companies, at $6.1 billion.[1] In February, following the return of an unfavorable verdict in the case against the company in the Jiading District People's Court in Shanghai, OSI said in a statement that "the court of jurisdiction has reached an unjust verdict" and the company had endured "injustices against our people and our reputation." The company went on to say, "After an actual investigation was completed, all authorities involved have recognized that this case has never been about food safety. The distortion of facts and evidence by Dragon TV and the general media clearly influenced the verdict."[8]


OSI operates its U.S. plants under the name OSI Industries, LLC. The U.S. plants are located in Chicago, Geneva and West Chicago in Illinois, as well as Oakland, Iowa, West Jordan, Utah, Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, and Riverside, California. The company produces many private label brand foods and co-packs major brand name items for its various Foodservice and Retail customers. OSI Group has more than 65 facilities in 17 countries around the world, located in North America, Western and Eastern Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region.[9]

OSI's products include meat patties, bacon, hot dogs, pizza, fish, pork, poultry, vegetable and dough products.

OSI Group has also been a meat supplier to other western fast food chains in China, such as Subway, Starbucks, Papa John's Pizza, and Pizza Hut (July 2014).[10]

OSI Group facilities have received awards over the years, including awards for management of health and safety risks as well as environmental management.[11] [12] [13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "America's Largest Private Companies". Forbes. Retrieved July 22, 2016. 
  2. ^ Grinding It Out: The Making of McDonald's. H. Regnery. May 1977. ISBN 0809282593. 
  3. ^ "OSI Group". Harvard Business School. 
  4. ^ "Best Chicago Meat Acquires Glenmark Brand, Introduces New Product Line". March 20, 2012. 
  5. ^ "America's Largest Private Companies". Forbes. November 16, 2011. Retrieved March 31, 2012. 
  6. ^ "China's food safety reputation takes another blow". CNBC. July 21, 2014. Retrieved July 22, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Small Businesses Need Export Opportunities". Huffington Post. January 14, 2016. 
  8. ^ "February 1, 2016" (PDF) (Press release). OSI Group. February 1, 2016. Retrieved September 27, 2016. 
  9. ^ "Global Locations". OSI Group. Retrieved September 26, 2016. 
  10. ^ "McDonald'S & YUM Brands' China "Spoiled Meat" Supplier: Inside Privately-Held Giant OSI GROUP (PrivCo Data)". PrivCo.com. July 21, 2014. Retrieved July 22, 2014. 
  11. ^ "U.K. Honours OSI". Meatingplace. November 27, 2015. 
  12. ^ "OSI Food Solutions UK awarded 2016 Globe of Honour by the British Safety Council". BNP Media. December 6, 2016. 
  13. ^ "OSI Food Plant Receives California Green Business Award". GIE Media, Inc. August 4, 2016. 

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