Category Archives: Food Service

The History of Foodservice Giant OSI Group

If you’re generally interested in the foodservice industry, then you’ve probably heard about OSI Group. When it comes to developing, sourcing, managing and processing food products, this is the company to beat. OSI Group was founded back in 1909 by a German-immigrant named Otto Kolschowki. Kolschowski came to America at the turn of the 20th century, and he has played an important role in Chicago’s agricultural scene. During the early 1900s, the city of Chicago’s population exploded with growth. Twenty-five percent of the city’s demographics were of German decent. Carl Sandburg, a popular American poet, stated that “Chicago is the city of broad shoulders.”

Back in the day, OSI was known as Otto & Sons. This small butcher shop was located on a corner in Oak Park, Illinois. The family-owned business sold some of the best tasting meats in the area. As word began to spread, Otto & Sons began to increase its services. As the years passed, the family-owned business jumped into the food wholesale business. This is when the company truly began to increase its net worth. During the postwar economic expansion, small businesses were powering the economy. As the larger cities began to spread outward, more and more of these small businesses started popping-up.

The company didn’t change its name until 1975. At this point in time, it had facilities in Illinois and in Utah. Thanks to its close ties with McDonald’s, OSI Group opened a facility that only catered to this popular hamburger chain. Sheldon Lavin, the current CEO of the company, has guided OSI Group straight to the top. OSI is now a multibillion dollar company thanks to Lavin’s leadership role. Thanks to his strong passion and perseverance, he has gone on to win the affluent Global Visionary Award. What more can you ever ask for? OSI Group was the top food provider of the past, is the top food provider of the present and will be the top food provider of the future.

Sheldon Lavin: The OSI Group’s Visonary, Innovative, Beloved Chief Executive

Global food processing company the OSI Group owes its international growth to the vision and business experience of chairman and CEO Sheldon Lavin. Lavin has degrees in business, finance and accounting from Roosevelt University, the University of Illinois and DePaul University. He also spent several years in the banking industry. Lavin was also a very successful investor and had a decade and a half experience running his financial consulting company before becoming involved with the OSI Group in the 1970s. By the 1980s he owned the company and was focused on international expansion.

The growth of the OSI Group to its leadership position in the worldwide food services industry is the fulfillment of the vision Sheldon Lavin had for the company ever since he first took control of it. Lavin began by expanding to China with its emerging market of over a billion people. Over the course of 20 years, he built 10 food processing facilities there. Lavin also built facilities or acquired companies in India, Japan, Hong Kong and the Philippines. He did the same thing in Australia, Mexico and Brazil, as part of his plan to give the OSI Group a global presence.

The OSI Group’s expansion in Europe was another important goal for Sheldon Lavin. He began by building new facilities in Hungary, Spain and Poland. Then he dramatically increased the production capacity of the OSI Group’s meat processing facility in Toledo, Spain. Lavin then acquired Baho Foods, this increased the company’s customer base in Holland and Germany. Next, Lavin attained a controlling interest in the food production company Flagship Europe which is based in the United Kingdom. This combination of building production facilities and buying companies gave the OSI Group customers in two dozen European countries.

One of the important keys to the successful international expansion of the OSI Group is attention Sheldon Lavin has placed on producing high quality, nutritious, tasty, innovative food products designed to satisfy the needs of people from diverse cultures. Lavin’s ability to work in harmony with foreign governments and local suppliers and marketing people also helped. Plus, Lavin instituted award-winning environmental management and worker safety policies and procedures, developed and maintained a family atmosphere in the company and created a generous benefits package for workers.

As a result the OSI Group has a happy staff and low worker turnover. And Sheldon Lavin is a much beloved, highly successful, chief executive.

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OSI Industries, a tip of the iceberg

OSI Industries is a global pace-setter in all matters to do with foodservice and food brands. The premier food provider has partnered with the best firms in the world to provide solutions that increasingly excite consumers. OSI’s established works include custom food solutions that are aimed at satisfying consumer’s needs, impeccable food safety and a commitment to sustainability throughout their extensive work. OSI industries success has been made possible through deep-rooted core values that have seen their employees deliver nothing but the best. Some of these values including working as a team, acting with utmost integrity, and doing what is best for the group.

OSI Industries over the decades has had a firm commitment to excellence with its main principle of putting consumer needs first and meeting any challenges they may encounter through their innovation and teamwork. Every individual working for OSI knows that their efforts are part of a greater team group that encourages the use of their skills in a conducive working environment. With this mind, OSI has been constantly growing, evolving and innovating enabling it to have a global buying power in the industry. OSI is also known for exemplary high standards when it comes to purchasing products from vendors. This has been echoed through efforts of establishing good partnerships. This positive reputation and teamwork have enabled them one of America’s top 100 food companies.

Recently OSI Industries acquired Baho Food, a manufacturer of convenience food, snacks, and deli meat serving the food service and retail segments. Though the financial terms weren’t disclosed, this move was well come by the group’s President Mr. David McDonald. He said that the addition of Baho Food to the group gave OSI a broader presence in Europe. He further added that Baho’s portfolio of products and brands complemented OSI’s current processing strengths and capabilities to best serve the evolving need of their customers. John Balves, Baho’s food managing director was excited about the move noting that OSI has outstanding relationships with its customers and they will be able to leverage on the experience and capabilities of OSI.

OSI Industries was recently awarded the prestigious Globe of Honour Award by the British Safety Council for corroborating exemplary commitment to environmental safety. In order to receive this award OSI had to receive 5 stars during the British Safety environmental awareness audit. After successfully doing this they had to demonstrate to an independent panel of experts that their outstanding management of environmental issues and worker health safety extended throughout the whole business.

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