Nutreco has its roots in family-owned businesses that have been operating for a very long time including Skretting (founded 1899) and Trouw (founded 1931). In the mid-1970s, various agri, food, and consumer goods companies were joined to form BP Nutrition. In 1994 Nutreco was formed as the result of a private-equity backed management buy-out of several BP Nutrition businesses active in animal nutrition, fish farming and meat processing.

Nutreco's direction would be guided by integrity, social responsibility, customer-awareness, innovation and - last but by no means least - profitability.

These features were encapsulated in the company name Nutreco, which stands for Nutrition, Ecology and Economy.

In June 1997, Nutreco was floated on the NYSE Euronext Amsterdam stock exchange.

Nutreco's initial strategy was 'Closer to the consumer' which focused on strengthening its downstream position in processed and pre-packed meat and fish. In 2005 Nutreco started a strategic transformation process called 'Rebalancing for growth' and changed from an integrated company active in feed, farming and meat processing to a focused animal nutrition and fish feed company. Nutreco's current strategy 'Driving sustainable growth' has led to an increased focus on businesses in the premix, feed specialties and aquafeed sectors and growth geographies of Latin America, Russia, Asia and Africa.

During this time, Nutreco has expanded its global footprint and entered markets such as Brazil, China, Ecuador, Russia and Vietnam while retaining its strong position in its mature markets.

In 2015 Dutch investment firm SHV purchased Nutreco, resulting in a delisting in April 2015.