OSI Food Solutions: Going Global

OSI Food Solutions began as Otto & Sons when it was founded in 1909, just outside of Chicago. Otto Kolschowsky began the business as a local butcher and meat suppler. As the years went by, it became the world’s #1 food supplier. As OSI Food Solutions, the local shop grew to be on of the top 4 suppliers of meat to McDonald’s, a company whose growth has been as dependent on OSI as OSI’s has been on them.

As McDonald’s grew from a single restaurant to a chain of franchises, OSI Food Solutions grew along with it. Going from a regional to a national to an international company has necessitated many changes, including becoming OSI Food Solutions from Otto & Sons. As OSI has expanded to supply McDonald’s and other chains, such as Subway and Pizza Hut, they have expanded their facilities to an international business. OSI has 65 plants in 17 countries, ranging from North America to Asia, Europe to Australia. They have acquired or partnered with established businesses in their new market countries and use the existing infrastructure and customer base of the local business as a base to expand from.

Since 2011, when OSI was named the 136th largest private company, Forbes has moved them up to the #58 spot in 2016, representing a large growth spurt from the company in recent years. In addition to acquiring new partners and companies in new markets, OSI Food Solutions has also expanded some of its existing plants. One notable expansion was the acquisition of a chicken processing plant in the Chicago area from Tyson Chicken. The facility, which was expanded on by OSI, almost doubles their chicken processing capabilities in North America.

Though primarily known for its meats, such as poultry, fish, pork and beef, OSI also makes vegetable and dough products for distribution. They are major suppliers of Western franchises in China and are making serious inroads in Europe, a splintered market due to the many nations occupying its territories.

OSI has been recognized with several awards for safety, management and environmental activities. They were notably given the Globe of Honour in 2016 by the British Safety Council. In 2018, the same group recognized OSI with a merit award art the 2018 International Safety Awards.

OSI also provides customers with premade products, such as hot dogs, frozen pizzas and other frozen foods, meat patties and bacon as well.

OSI Group Merges with Top Australian Food Processor

What happens when arguably the best American food processing company merges with one of the finest food processors in Australia? Well, two great companies get even better. More importantly, the true winners are customers who get a lot of delicious food at a fair price out of the deal.

That’s what happened recently when OSI Group merged with Australia’s Turi Foods. It’s a 50/50 merger between one of the world’s largest international companies with an operation many consider the premier food processor Down Under.

Turi Foods operates plants in Thomastown and Geelong, Victoria. The company’s processed products are handled in Broadmeadows, also located in the state of Victoria. Turi is among the largest poultry processors in Australia. It customers include supermarkets, fast food restaurants, butcher shops and specialty chicken retail outfits.

Turi was established by Italian immigrant Sam Cuteri in 1976. He first shop was little more than a shed where Cuteri processed 300 chickens a week by hand. It’s a history similar to the origin of OSI Group. It was also started by an immigrant — in this case, a German immigrant who came to America in 1907.

Otto Kolschowsky set up a small retail meat market and butcher shop in a Chicago suburb in 1909. By 1928 his two sons, Arthur and Harry, had joined to create Otto & Sons, a thriving retail and wholesale operation.

Things really took off for Otto & Sons in the 1950s when the made a handshake deal with a man by the name of Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonalds. Kroc and his revolutionary fast food model spread rapidly across the United States and the Kolschowsky boys supplied the fresh beef.

Otto & Sons became OSI Group in 1975. The rapid growth of the company has continued to present day. OSI Group operates 65 plants in 17 nations. Forbes places it as No. 58 on its list of America’s largest privately owned companies. It has revenues in excess of $6 billion annually.

The merger with Australia’s Turi Foods is yet another chapter in one of America’s most storied food processing operations.