Fresh Take: Meet The McBillionaire Hiding In McDonald’s Burger Supply Chain

Food & Drink

Though few are familiar with OSI Group, it is one of America’s largest private companies. Its breadth is huge. OSI’s factories can marinate, sous-vide, or batter and fry any protein—beef, pork, poultry, seafood, even tofu and other alternatives. The company’s machinery can brown, sear or char whatever meat a food company wants to sell. Bacon or bacon bits, sausage patties or links, riblets or deli meat. Meatballs or meatloaf. Pepperoni or salami. OSI can manufacture millions of pizza crusts, flatbreads, or paninis. Or taquitos. Or truckloads of mac and cheese. Or soups, chili or beans.

OSI started out as the first fresh hamburger meat supplier to the first McDonald’s franchise in Des Plaines, Illinois, a deal secured through a handshake with the legendary franchising agent Ray Kroc in 1955. Kroc then offered the firm, then called Otto & Sons, the chance to be one of five nationwide suppliers of frozen hamburger patties. Ever since, Aurora, Illinois-based OSI has been stealthily growing, one hamburger production line at a time.

But now one of the world’s largest contract manufacturers is under new management. My latest feature digs into that transition of power to the next generation with new Chairman Steven Lavin, and I’d love for you to read it. Let me know what you think, and have a happy Halloweekend!

P.S. Colorado friends, join my book tour! I’ll be popping up at Boulder Book Store with a signing and discussion of Raw Deal on Monday, Oct. 30, starting at 6 p.m. Mountain Time. Register for free admission here. I can’t wait to see you there!

— Chloe Sorvino, Staff Writer

Order my book, Raw Deal: Hidden Corruption, Corporate Greed and the Fight for the Future of Meat, out now from Simon & Schuster’s Atria Books.

This is Forbes’ Fresh Take newsletter, which every Friday brings you the latest on the big ideas changing the future of food. Want to get it in your inbox every week? Sign up here.

What’s Fresh

Meet The New Billionaire Whose Fortune Was Built On Big Macs And Barbacoa

After watching his late father grow the company, Steven Lavin is now chair of privately held OSI Group, which prepares food for brands like McDonald’s and Chipotle.

Arturo Elizondo On His Biotech Company’s New “Liquid Gold” Egg-Protein Product

The Every Company cofounder Arturo Elizondo sat down with Forbes Reporter Zoya Hasan to discuss The Every Company’s new protein product they’re calling “Liquid Gold,” which Elizondo thinks could be a major “paradigm shift.”

Congressional Backlog Ramifications For The Farm Bill

As Congress may now be able to get back to work, one important measure that needs to be passed is the Farm Bill. The bill tends to be something with bipartisan support, although there are Republicans that are not supportive of government aid programs like SNAP.

‘We Are Afraid’: Scientists Issue New Warning As World Enters ‘Uncharted Climate Territory’

Scientists this week warned that human activity is pushing Earth into a situation “no one has ever witnessed firsthand in the history of humanity.”

How An Ugly Lawn Competition Got People Talking About Saving Water

Authorities on the Swedish island of Gotland have found an unusual way to make water conservation fun with a competition to find the region’s “ugliest lawn.”

Field Notes

This juicy bite of fried chicken on a skewer, topped with an apple-miso jam, is one I wish I could have savored. But it was just too good. The yakitori omakase at Yakitori Kono in Chinatown is my favorite splurge meal in New York City.

Thanks for reading the 90th edition of Forbes Fresh Take! Let me know what you think. Subscribe to Forbes Fresh Take here.

Chloe Sorvino leads coverage of food and agriculture as a staff writer on the enterprise team at Forbes. Her book, Raw Deal: Hidden Corruption, Corporate Greed and the Fight for the Future of Meat, published on December 6, 2022, with Simon & Schuster’s Atria Books. Her nearly nine years of reporting at Forbes has brought her to In-N-Out Burger’s secret test kitchen, drought-ridden farms in California’s Central Valley, burnt-out national forests logged by a timber billionaire, a century-old slaughterhouse in Omaha and even a chocolate croissant factory designed like a medieval castle in northern France.

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