He earned his Ph.D. in marketing at Stanford (1990) and was marketing professor at the Amos Tuck School at Dartmouth College (1990–1994), the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam (1994–1995), and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania (1995–1997) 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 (1997–2005).
When he moved to the University of Illinois in 1997 he established the Food & Brand Lab which uniquely focuses on the psychology behind what people eat and how often they eat it. A primary focus of the lab is to help people eat more nutritiously and to help control how much they eat. An additional focus is on increasing the acceptance of soy foods and the consumption of fruits and vegetables.
Because Dr. Wansink's expertise is focused on the psychology and consumption of foods – ABC News has referred to him as the "Food Psychologist," and he directs the content of www.foodpsychology.cornell.edu. His research focuses on how ads, packaging, and personality traits influence the usage frequency and usage volume of healthy foods. 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, all news networks, and on the front pages of the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times. "
Professor Wansink founded and directs the Food and Brand Lab, a series of test kitchens, restaurants, and cooperating grocery stores that are used to understand how consumers "choose and use" foods. With the help of researchers from psychology, history, food science, cultural anthropology, and agricultural and consumer economics, the mission of the Food & Brand Labs' studies is to help consumers eat more nutritiously and behave responsibly.
In 1999, Professor Wansink founded the Wansink Consumer Education Foundation, a nonprofit organization which is funded by book royalties and speaking honorariums. The Foundation supports high school science projects dealing with consumer welfare and provides textbook–related scholarships to selected college–bound students who wish to promote consumer welfare through their studies. It also supports Consumer Camp, every June in Ithaca, NY.
On a personal level, Brian was born in Sioux City, Iowa and now lives with his wife Jennifer and daughters Audrey, Valerie and Lieve. He plays tenor saxophone in a jazz quartet ("Shaken Not Stirred") and in an eight–piece rhythm and blues dance band ("The Usual Suspects").