Brian Wansink, is Professor and Director of the famed Cornell University Food and Brand Lab, where he is a leading expert in changing eating behavior – both on individual level and on a mass scale -- using principles of behavioral science. He is the author of Mindless Eating and Slim by Design (which have been translated into over 25 languages) as well as over 200 peer-reviewed journal articles. From 2007 until 2009 he was appointed by the White House to be the USDA's Center for Nutrition Policy & Promotion Executive Director in charge of the Dietary Guidelines for 2010 and the Food Guide Pyramid (MyPyramid.gov). He received his PhD from Stanford, and is a former bad open-mic comic and rock sax player. He lives with his wife and three girls in Ithaca, New York, where he enjoys both French food and French fries.
The Mission of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab is this: “We change how food is purchased, prepared, and consumed. Using new tools of behavioral science, we invent healthy eating solutions for consumers, companies, and communities. We invent, redesign, and empower.” We invent solutions for companies to help consumers eat healthier (100-calorie packs, new products, new positioning, new markets). On a mass scale we help redesign cafeterias, grocery stores, restaurants, homes, and workplaces to make it profitably easier for consumers to eat healthier. We empower consumers to make small changes and nudges that improve their eating habits and the health of their families. Each year we publish 20+ new ideas in academic journals, and we appear in media around the world.
Outreach and Extension Focus
As noted above, “We change how food is purchased, prepared, and consumed. Using new tools of behavioral science, we invent healthy eating solutions for consumers, companies, and communities. We invent, redesign, and empower.” At the Food and Brand Lab, we focus on programs that are scalable (like the Smarter Lunchroom Movement approach – now in 30,000+ US schools), and we aggressively disseminate our findings through outreach partners and the media.
There are four objectives that I incorporate into my planning for a course and in my preparation for each class session. I call them the 4-Cs: 1. Critical thinking, 2. Curiosity, 3. Character, and 4. Community. My goal each day is to change a student’s thinking and outlook in a way that elevates their life and the lives of others.
Awards and Honors
- President (2012) Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior
- Person of the Week (2008) ABC World News
- "Fit-50" (2008) Fitness Magazine
- Ig Nobel Prize in Nutrition – Annals of Improbable Research (2007) Harvard University
- Distinguished Leadership Award (1991) United Negro College Fund
- Wansink, B., & Van Ittersum, K. (2016). Boundary Research: Tools and Rules for Impactful Research in Emerging Fields. Journal of the Association of Consumer Research. 1:16.
- Wansink, B. (2015). Change Their Choice! Changing Behavior Using the CAN Approach and Activism Research. Psychology and Marketing . 32:486-500.
- Wansink, B., & Chandon, P. (2014). Slim by Design: Redirecting the Accidental Drivers of Mindless Overeating. Journal of Consumer Psychology. 24:413-431.
- Chandon, P., & Wansink, B. (2012). Does Food Marketing Need to Make Us Fat? A Review and Solutions. Nutrition Reviews. 70:571-593.
- Wansink, B., Painter, J. E., & North, J. (2005). Bottomless Bowls: Why Visual Cues of Portion Size May Influence Intake. Obesity Research. 13:93-100.
- Wansink, B. (2006). Mindless Eating – Why We Eat More Than We Think. Bantam-Dell, New York, NY.
- Wansink, B. (2005). Marketing Nutrition – Soy, Functional Foods, Biotechnology, and Obesity. University of Illinois Press, Champaign, IL.
- Bradburn, N. M., Sudman, S., & Wansink, B. (2004). Asking Questions: The Definitive Guide to Questionnaire Design – For Market Research, Political Polls, and Social and Health Questionnaires. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CA.
- Sudman, S., & Wansink, B. (2002). Consumer Panels. American Marketing Association, Chicago.
Presentations and Activities
- Slim by Design. Obesity Prevention through Changing Behavior. September 2015. Nutrition and Health Foundation, Ireland. Dublin, Ireland.
- Slim by Design. An Appetite for Change – London Behavioral Forum. September 2015. Nesta & UK Government. London, UK.
- Slim by Design. Vital Smarts REACH Conference. July 2015. Vital Smarts. Salt Lake City, UT.
- The Slim by Design Workplace. Vital Smarts REACH Conference. July 2015. Vital Smarts. Salt Lake City, UT.
- Keynote: Doing Research with Impact. AMA-Sheth Foundation Doctoral Consortium 2015. July 2015. American Marketing Association. London, UK.
- Slim by Design. Instructor Update Conference. June 2015. National Family Development Credential Program. Ithaca, NY.
- Keynote Slim by Design. International Conference on Culinary Arts and Sciences (ICCAS-15). June 2015. Montclair State University. Montclair, NJ.
- Slim by Design. EAT Symposium. June 2015. EAT Forum. Stockholm, Norway.
- Marketing Nutrition. MSI Chicago. May 2015. MSI. Chicago, IL.
- Slim by Design. Smarter Lunchrooms Movement. May 2015. Symposium. Ithaca, NY.