October 09, 2010

One year at the Food and Brand Lab: participating in discovering the why of people's eating habits

From September 2009 till August 2010 I worked at the Food and Brand lab at Cornell University in New York. I had such a good time there! It was wonderful to be part of this action-oriented and creative group of researchers, led by Dr. Brian Wansink.

The Food and Brand lab at Cornell University is best known for the famous studies of Brian on Mindless Eating. Mindless eating refers to the research finding that people make twenty times more food decisions that they are aware of. His studies have shown that people are easily influenced by subtle cues in their environment, including food packaging, signs, names, light, color, shapes and scents, the food stocked in your kitchen cabinet and so on. Still, if you ask people, they are usually unaware of these influences on what and how much they eat.

The lab is not large, but much is possible. For example, it can be transformed into a dining room where you can secretly watch people from behind two way mirrors. The great thing is that there is always someone working on a study, so lots of food is present. Working at the Food and Brand Lab was a year full of experiments, fun ideas and food. Now I am back at the Marketing and Consumer Behaviour Group of Wageningen University in the Netherlands, continuing my research in this fascinating field.

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