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StartupOnomics Speaker Announcement: Brian Wansink, Famed Author, director of Cornell’s Food Lab and Exec Director of the USDA’s nutrition center

Have you ever gotten to the bottom of a huge movie-theater popcorn bucket and wondered how and why you ate so much of that average-tasting (maybe even stale) popcorn?

Brian Wansink, director of the Cornell Food and Brand and best-selling author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think, would say that merely the size of the popcorn container is enough to lead us to eat more, even if what’s in the bucket isn’t any good. He’s full of insights about our often “mindless” eating behavior.

Brian will be at StartupOnomics to teach us all about what’s really going on when we’re making choices about food and how we can mindlessly change our our habits for the better.


For the record, we think Brian is awesome. He is the leading thinker in using behavioral nudges to improve health outcomes.  And just an all around great guy.

But, just to prove it to you, here is his bio:

Brian Wansink (PhD, Stanford 1990) is the John Dyson Professor of Consumer Behavior at Cornell University, where he directs the Cornell Food and Brand Lab. The mission of the Lab is to “To discover and disseminate transforming solutions to eating problems.” This is relevant to families, medicine, nutrition, obesity, public health policy, and marketing. Wansink is author of over 200 academic articles and books, including the best-selling Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think (2006) and Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Places.

Wansink’s award-winning academic research on eating behavior, behavioral economics, and behavior change has been published in the world’s top marketing, medical, and nutrition journals. In addition to “100 calorie” packs and the rewriting of chain restaurant menus, his research has contributed to the use of taller glasses in bars (to prevent the overpouring of alcohol) and the removal of 500 million calories from restaurants each year (via Unilever’s Seductive Nutrition program). These insights have been presented, translated, reported, and featured in television documentaries on every continent but Antarctica.

From 2007-2009 Wansink was granted a leave-of-absence from Cornell to accept a White House 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).

Learn more about Brian Wansink and StartupOnomics here (and make sure to get your application in to attend the conference before they close on July 7th!)


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