Brian Wansink (Ph.D. Stanford 1990) is the John Dyson Endowed Chair in the Applied Economics and Management Department at Cornell University, where he directs the Cornell Food and Brand Lab. He is the lead author of over 100 academic articles and books on eating behavior, including the best-selling Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think (2006) along with Marketing Nutrition (2005), Asking Questions (2004), and Consumer Panels (2002).
From 2007-2009 Wansink was granted a leave-of-absence from Cornell to accept a Presidential appointment as Executive Director of USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, the Federal agency in charge of developing 2010 Dietary Guidelines and promoting the Food Guide Pyramid (MyPyramid.gov). While there, web hits to Dietary Guidelines increased 44% to 5.4 million/day, and he was named ABC World News Person of the Week.
Wansink’s award-winning academic research on changing eating behaviors has been published in the world’s top marketing, medical, nutrition and obesity journals. It contributed to the introduction of smaller “100 calorie” packages (to prevent overeating), the use of taller glasses in some bars (to prevent the overpouring of alcohol), and the use of elaborate names and mouth-watering descriptions on some chain restaurant menus (to improve enjoyment of the food). His results have been presented, translated, reported, and featured in television documentaries on every continent but Antarctica.
An Iowa native, he lives with his wife and three daughters in Ithaca, NY, where he’s a mediocre saxophone player in a rock-and-roll band and where he regularly enjoys both French food and french fries.