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After Over 100 Years, The Midwest Is Still Home To OSI Group

OSI Group is known as one of the largest producers and distributors of food products in the nation. They have production facilities in over 18 countries worldwide. The company has over 20,000 employees. They distribute to the retail sector and to the food services industry.

The origins of the company, beginning as a humble neighborhood shop and growing into a multinational corporation, is a story that few people know today. The founder of the company was a German businessman named Otto Kolschowsky. Otto was an immigrant who came to the United States in the early 1900s. He settled in a suburb of Chicago that was a highly populated German community at the time. Only two years after arriving in the states, Otto opened a neighborhood butcher shop. Years later, his sons Harry and Arthur joined him in the family business. The name of OSI Group would come to be several decades later.

From day one over 100 years ago, Otto took pride in offering only the finest quality meat available to his local customers in Oak Park, IL. In the mid 1950s, Arthur and Harry Kolschowsky met a then unknown man named Ray Kroc. Ray was opening a restaurant nearby, and the Kolschowsky business would become his meat distributor. A short time later, Ray Kroc was to become the CEO of the McDonald’s food chain. The brothers were then the primary ground beef supplier to McDonald’s restaurants across the nation.

Changes in technologies the years made it possible for the company to offer end user food solutions to the fast food industry. Ground beef was sold as pre-made, consistently sized hamburger patties. Chicken was made available as strips and nuggets, and pork was supplied as pre-cut bacon strips, sausage patties and hotdogs. The use of cutting-edge technology helped the small company emerge into OSI Group is today, that is a multi-national supplier to many of the fast food chains in existence today.

The company is privately-held, and it remains true to its midwestern values, its Illinois roots, and Otto’s high standards. The headquarters of OSI Group are located in Aurora.


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