Professor Brian Wansink

Founder and Director, Cornell University Food and Brand Lab

Brian Wansink earned his Ph.D. in marketing at Stanford University in 1990 and was professor of marketing at the Amos Tuck School at Dartmouth College from 1990 to 1994, the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam from 1994 to 1995, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania from 1995 to1997, and the Julian Simon Faculty Scholar and Professor of Marketing, Nutritional Sciences and Agricultural and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign from 1997 to 2005.

Upon moving to the University of Illinois in 1997, he established the Food & Brand Lab, which uniquely focuses on the psychology behind what people eat. A primary focus of the lab is to help individuals eat more nutritiously and control their food intake. The lab also aims to increase the acceptance of soy-based foods and overall consumption of fruits and vegetables.
Dr. Wansink’s expertise lies in the psychology of food consumption – ABC News has referred to him as the “Food Psychologist” – and his research focuses on how advertising, packaging, and personality influence the frequency and volume of individual healthy food consumption. His research on consumption volume has won national and international awards for its relevance to consumers. His research has been widely featured on 20/20, BBC News, The Learning Channel, various news networks, and on the front pages of the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.

The Food and Brand Lab collaborates with a series of test kitchens, restaurants, and cooperating grocery stores that are enlisted to study how consumers “choose and use” foods, and is supported by researchers in psychology, history, food science, cultural anthropology, agricultural and consumer economics.

In 1999, Professor Wansink founded the Wansink Consumer Education Foundation, a nonprofit organization funded by book royalties and speaking honorariums. The Foundation supports high school science projects dealing with consumer welfare and provides scholarships to college–bound students who wish to promote consumer welfare in their studies. It also supports Consumer Camp every June in Ithaca, NY.