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The University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna grew out of the K.K. School for Horse Cures (Pferde-Curen) and Operations founded in 1765 by the Empress Maria Theresia, with the Institute for Nutrition tracing its origins to 1912, when chemistry professor Theodor Panzer was appointed as the first honorary docent for study of animal nutrition.

After Panzer’s death in 1923, the field of feedstuff science was merged with the department of milk hygiene and food science founded in 1920 and at that time operating under the auspices of Assistant Professor Franz Zaribnicky. In 1925, Zaribnicky became a full professor and in 1928, he was awarded the title Professor of Milk Hygiene, Food and Feed Science.

After Zaribnicky’s longtime colleague Friedrich Münchberg became full professor in 1955, the Institute was reconceived as the Chair and Institute for Animal Nutrition, Milk Hygiene and Food Science in keeping with the scope of its research and teaching activities, which encompassed not only feed science, but also the basics of nutritional physiology, feed hygiene, and special studies in animal feed science and technology.

As a result of the expansion of individual subject areas, the Institute was subdivided after Münchberg’s retiring to the post of professor emeritus. In spring of 1971, Hermann Zucker became full professor of the newly titled Institute for Animal Nutrition, followed by Josef Leibetseder in 1975 after Zucker’s return to Munich.
Since Leibetseder was also involved in research and teaching in the field of human nutrition, the Institute was renamed the Institute for Nutrition in 1978.

In the autumn of 2002, Jürgen Zentek was appointed head of the Institute. Due to his taking on a leading role at the Free University of Berlin in April 2005, his activities in Vienna have been curtailed.
Josef Troxler, the head of the Institute for Animal Husbandry and Welfare, was appointed as interim head of the Institute for Nutrition.

In October 2010, the appointment of Qendrim Zebeli as head of the Institute gave livestock nutrition pride of place at the newly retitled Institute for Animal Nutrition.

After Chlodwig Franz, the Chair of the Institute for Applied Botany and Pharmacognosy, retired to the position of professor emeritus in October 2012, the two Institutes were merged into the Institute for Animal Nutrition and Functional Plant Compounds under the leadership of Qendrim Zebeli.