A Century of Innovation and Leadership: The Story of OSI Industries

OSI Industries is known as the premier source provider of proteins to restaurant and food distributor supply chains. Being the exclusive provider of protein products to the most recognized and respected food outlets in the world, OSI Industries has long been recognized as an innovator and industry leader, and for good reason. The multi-billion dollar company operates more than 65 facilities in 17 countries and directly employees more than 20,000 people. This is not counting the additional jobs that are created in its own upstream supply chain operation and subsidiary operations around the world.

OSI Industries started out a lot smaller than it is today, a whole lot smaller, in fact, it started out with just one man in a modest corner butcher shop in the Oak Park district on the west side of Chicago. Otto Kolschowsky was a man who found himself in the upper Midwest of America at the turn of the 20th century, and luckily for him, it was the perfect place for a man of his particular skills to be. He was, like most of the residents of Oak Park, of German-Polish descent, and came from a long line of butcher men. In fact, the Kolschowsky men had been butchering for more than 8 generations, and it was a trade that he had learned well from his father, grandfather, and uncles. It was also a trade that he was able to put to use in his adopted homeland as at that time the Chicago area was known as “The Meat Market to the World” due to all of the meat packing plants, butcheries, and stockyards in the region.

Otto was able to not only build a solid business but along the way he built a solid reputation, expanding his business several times to accommodate the high number of wholesale orders that were coming in from the restaurants and hotels in the city that demanded his high-quality goods and exceptional service. It was his reputation that first attracted McDonald’s, who at the time was undertaking the largest franchise expansion in the history of the world, to want to partner with him. They were seeking out regional market local providers for the proteins that they needed in their rapidly growing burger restaurant system, and in the upper Midwest, they knew that if they wanted the best quality products and service they needed to talk to Otto & Sons Meats.

The relationship was a very profitable one for both companies and the rebranded Otto & Sons, now known as OSI Industries took full advantage of the benefits of it. As they grew into a more significant role as a global protein source for McDonald’s they also found themselves being called upon to play the same part in other networks and operations. Soon they found themselves growing at an exponential rate and before long were expanding globally to provide their products to supply chains all over the world.

Today the OSI group is not just beef, pork, and chicken. Todays OSI is also an innovator and market leader in alternative proteins for specialized markets and dietary regions around the world. OSI is the predominant supplier of alternative non-beef based proteins products to India and is a mainstay provider of high-quality alternative proteins in substitution of shellfish and pork in the middle east and Israel. They are also an emerging force in meatless proteins catering to those who choose to live a vegan lifestyle. Indeed it has been a long and wild ride for Otto’s little corner butcher shop as it has become now truly the meat market to the world and for certain its one that still has a long way to go before its done.